From extension to engagement: Mapping the imaginary of wearable technology

Anne Cranny-Francis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This article maps the metaphors that have been used to facilitate human engagement with wearable technologies - extension, enhancement, augmentation - and locates the values and assumptions about the body and technology that they articulate. At the same time it considers the figure of the cyborg, in which many of these metaphors are incorporated fictionally and theoretically, and locates in this figure not one (interrogative, critical) meaning, but many possible meanings. The article then goes on to explore a recent reconfiguring of the human-technology relationship (Schroeder and Rebelo's 2007 analogy with the relationship between musician and intstrument), which it describes in terms of engagement - and to propose further that we need to embrace fully the embodied character of this relationship in order to realize the most creative possibilities of our relationship with the material world as expressed in this recent technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-382
Number of pages20
JournalVisual Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • Augmentation
  • Body
  • Cyborg
  • Difference
  • Engagement
  • Enhancement
  • Extension
  • Frottage
  • Hybrid
  • Prosthesis
  • Technology
  • Wearable


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