Brain rapidly rewires to help us use tools

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Don Ihde proposed in his seminal work "Technics and Praxis' (1979) that there is a logical relationship between the design telos of tools and instruments and the perception of the user of those tools. One of Idhe's propositions back then was the idea that tools have a logical developmental telos, and natural goal to become seamless extensions of ourselves to the point where a good tool would be perceived as 'invisible' to the user, as if it was an organic part of the body.

Well this (see link below) neuroscience research offers validation to that proposition.  Drawn from work by Dr Eiichi Naito, of the “National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Kyoto, and colleagues”  the way the brain maps visual cues to body representation is a key insight to how teaching this aspect of Design and Technology education could be better informed.  Visual imagery and videos of the same, are critical stimuli for tool skill and knowledge development.

Technacy genre theory, having emerged from works such as Ihde, also accommodates this position.  You will note that a genre necessarily involves a relationship between the tool system, the agent or user, and the material being transformed.


Ihde. D. (1979) Technics and Praxis. D. Rcidcl: Dordrccht and Boston. MA.  

Hagura N, Hirose1 S, Matsumura M and Naito E (2012) ‘Am I seeing my hand? Visual appearance and knowledge of controllability both contribute to the visual capture of a person's own body’, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0750,  [accessed 30 May 2012