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Kensho Miyoshi

PhD Work

Objects in Motion: Designing Kinesthetic Empathy

The physical movements of designed objects not only have utilitarian purposes but also make us experience the diverse sensations of motion. A look at a curtain waving in the calm wind can make viewers feel light and relaxed as if they themselves are waving in the air. By seeing ticket barriers creaking and moving at an awkward speed, one can somewhat imagine how it would feel like if their bodies moved in such a manner despite them never being barriers. Such imaginative projection of one’s own embodied sensation to observed movements is called ‘kinesthetic empathy’, which has recently been studied in relation to human movement, i.e. audience’s experience of dance and theatre performances. However, the question of how kinesthetic empathy works with the movements of designed objects that are usually non-anthropomorphic and functional is yet unexplored. Nevertheless, it has the potential to open up new opportunities for designers to explore the aesthetics of products’ physical behaviour. By addressing this question, this research investigates the nature of kinesthetic empathy in the context of design and develops a framework that supports designers’ aesthetic consideration of the element of movement. Inspired by multiple fields of knowledge such as embodied cognition, ecological theory of perception, tacit knowledge and mirror neuron theory, the practical research applies methods of reflective practice, phenomenological research and participatory design research. 


  • PhD


    School of Design


    Innovation Design Engineering, 2015–2019

  • Kensho Miyoshi is a designer and researcher with a background in aerospace engineering. He holds BEng (2013) and MEng (2015) degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Tokyo, where he explored the interactivity of indoor aerial robots which can navigate without the aid of external sensors or computation resources. His practice also includes several art and design works which embrace the element of physical movement as the core of its aesthetics. Kensho received Super Creator Certification from the Information Technology Promotion Agency and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan in 2014. His works have been presented at conferences and exhibitions such as SIGGRAPH and Milan Design Week. For his doctoral research, he develops the pervasive interest underlying his prior works in both technological and creative domains and concentrates on the aesthetic and empathic potential of motion in the context of design.

  • Degrees

  • MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Tokyo, 2015; BEng Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Tokyo, 2013
  • Experience

  • Creator, MITOH Program (Explanatory IT Human Resources Program), Tokyo, 2013–2014
  • Exhibitions

  • An exhibit of art and life 2017, Nifrel, Osaka, 2017-2018; Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2016; Tokyo Design Week in Milan 2015, Padiglione Visconti, Milano, 2015; PUWANTS In-store exhibition, Factotum Gallery, Tokyo, 2014; THE MIRROR: Hold the Mirror up to Nature, Nagoya Shokokaikan, Tokyo, 2014; Parallel Nature, Furusato Museum of Art, Toyama, 2014; A' Design Award Winners Exhibition, Broletto di Como, Como, 2014; The 15th iiiExhibition, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 2013; The 15th iiiExhibition Extra, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 2013
  • Awards

  • Contemporary Arts Grant, Terumo Foundation for Life Sciences and Arts, 2018; Arts and Cuture Grant, Nomura Foundation, 2018; Arts and Cuture Grant, Nomura Foundation, 2017; Arts and Cuture Grant, Nomura Foundation, 2016; Jury Selection in Entertainment Division, 18th Japan Media Arts Festival, 2014; Graduation Works Support Program for Milano Salone 2015, Japan Design Associations NPO, 2014; Bronze Award, A’ Design Award and Competition, 2014; Super Creator Certification, The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan + Information Promotion Technology Agency, 2014; Visiting Researcher Support Grant, International Information Science Foundation (Japan), 2014
  • Publications

  • K. Miyoshi. (2018). Where Kinesthetic Empathy meets Kinetic Design. In Proceedings of MOCO’18, Genoa, Italy, June 28-30, 2018, 4 pages.; Miyoshi, K., Konomura, R., & Hori, K. (2014, July). Above Your Hand: direct and natural interaction with aerial robot. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies (p. 8). ACM.; Miyoshi, K., Konomura, R., & Hori, K. (2014, September). Entertainment multi-rotor robot that realises direct and multimodal interaction. In Proceedings of the 28th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference on HCI 2014 (pp. 218-221). BCS