Communication Through Movement

In the series of video of Primate Cinema by Rachel Mayeri, Mayeri illustrates how baboons communicate through movement. Movement is an essential key to communication, whether it was for humans, animals, or even machines. In this response I am going to talk about how movement comes into play in the way humans, animals, and machines communicate with each other.


More than 90% of nonverbal communication is used and within that portion 55% comes from body language. Humans communicate through movement by moving our bodies towards a certain way or gesturing. Sign language is one of the important one in which we communicate through movement. Movement acts like a common language between people from different countries. Through certain movements, we are able to understand what the other person means without having to speak the same language. For example, a simple wave indicates a greeting, with a smile on the face indicates welcoming of another person. Of course, there are certain gestures that mean differently throughout different culture, but nevertheless it serves as a tool in communication. Dance choreography for instance, is a result of understanding common body languages. Dancers convey emotion and story lines to the audience using series of choreography that can be easily interpreted.

In this choreography for the song “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith, the dance conveys a sense of longing between the two dancers. The scene starts off with the couple fighting and then transition into asking the other to stay through series of body movement.


Animals communicate through movement as well. In fact, movement is one of their major ways of communicating. Animals often show affection by motioning their body parts. For example, giraffes intertwine their necks with each other, while elephants intertwine with their noses. Kangaroos thump their legs to indicate danger and bees dance when they have found nectars to collect honey. Just like how the baboon video is shown, most animals have similar way in communicating through body movement compared with humans. Like humans, animals also show signs of affection through intimacy of the body and they show anger just like humans do by fighting with each other.


Other than human interaction and animal interaction using movement, humans can also interact with machine by recording human’s body movement. Machines are able to read in human’s facial expression by mapping out its facial features. Nintendo Wii and XBOX Kinect is two common known motion detecting program that allows the user to interact with the machine through recording its body movement. Some other machines are also able to sense what emotion the human is displaying at the moment when posed in front of the camera.

This video shows how emotion detection works in this particular program. The face is mapped in a certain way in which computer can read in where in particular the mapped place is moved to determine which emotion the user is displaying.


The way how humans, animals and machines communicate using movement described by the examples above just prove that movement is an integral part in communication. Not only that, it opens up new opportunity in terms of interactive medium between humans and the machine. As technology advances, machines require commands from reading in human’s movement. Motion detection becomes a big part in which we develop our future augmented reality.

-Kammy Yuan


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