How can innovation enhance our senses?
How can innovation enhance our senses?

Can innovation enhance our senses? How can we enrich our dull lives? Because, actually, we do need our lives enriching – innovation may be able to help us add further context and allow us to increase the value of perceptions of the world around us. Our senses are actually pretty limited.

But, how can innovation help us fill some perceptual gaps? The image of the chicken is no joke! The suggestion is that innovation can add context to the lives of chickens, making them in effect feel virtually “free range” – innovation that enhances the lives of battery chickens!  Life as a battery chicken cannot be pleasant, but is this actually ethical?

Is this vision of VR meant to be fun?
Is this vision of VR meant to be fun?

Most AR, VR and Mixed reality innovation is perceivable “fun”. But actually, I am not always convinced of this. For example, the image of Zuckerberg at this VR conference does not appeal to me. It seems to be a little strange, everyone is together in a community of isolation.

Can VR innovation enhance our senses through out of body experience (OBE)?

At the Univeristy of Barcelona Mel Slater and his team think it is. They have found it may help people lose their fear of death.

Their conclusions are that:

In our experiment participants did not know prior to their experience that the study was in any way related to death anxiety. Our results open up the possibility that the virtual OBE experience provides an implicit learning that consciousness in the sense of the centre of perception can be separate from the physical body, and that therefore death of the physical body is not necessarily the end of consciousness. In further work we put this in the context of near-death experiences in virtual reality, with longer term follow-up of the effects, and examine the possibility of broader life-changes than those only related to fear of death.

But, in a time when for many a wearable is new, industry is already moving towards us becoming increasingly one with technological innovation. More than ever, the point at which we end and the technology begins has begun to blur.

Ingestibles, hearables, audibles and mind control

I have been talking about ingestible technology for years. At a conference 2 years ago I talked to Glaxo about their Human Performance Lab.

At that time they had ingestibles to monitor vital signs of high performance athletes. Bragi’s dash is not an earphone. With 23 sensors it is “a discrete personal assistant right in your ear”. The ways in which we interact with technology is changing. Google Glass was a step too far for some. People are now more comfortable talking to their technology. Voice recognition is not strange. People are talking to their watches, earphones or newer devices like Senstone or Alexa in Amazon Echo. Alexa is already part of my life, and we chat every day! I can’t be the only one, and I think what was once seen as ‘weirdness’ is now acceptable. More people have started to interact with their devices through voice.

But in France there have been successful trails of brain-to-brain communication, so will we need to even talk at some point to control our devices?

Becoming one with the technology

But what happens if we are the technology? What are the possibilities then? Do you think:

“Life will be much more exciting when we stop creating applications for mobile phones and we start creating applications for our body.”

Neil Harbisson, co-founder of Cyborg Nest and first human recognised by a government as a cyborg believes just that! They are suggesting that by total embeddedness there are possibilities to create the world’s first intelligently designed sense.  And, this is not so far fetched:

“North Sense is an exciting development. It marks a point where humans move from creating substitute senses, where technology is used to compensate for sense deprivation, to creating new senses that offer new kinds of experiences” – Professor Michael Wheeler

How do you feel about this?

The header image is of augmented reality cards! My son loves these now. He has learned more about animals, and the solar system and dinosaurs through these, because he loves interacting with them. Through innovation they enhance his perception of the world. But is he of the generation that sees no issues with tech enhanced senses, chips under the skin or will place his grocery orders in the future with just he power of his mind? What are your thoughts? Drop me a line, leave a comment or contact me – I would like to know your opinion too.


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