Examples of Sense Enhancement & Sense Creation Projects

Goals

To get a detailed report on what sense enhancement and sense creation projects or products have been tested, created, or proposed in the amateur/hobbyist, commercial, and academic communities.

Early Findings

Some examples of sensory enhancement products in today's world include advanced hearing aids, artificial noses, and bionic eyes.

Bionic Eyes

  • A team of developers in the United States have created a human sense enhancement product that uses AI to help people without vision to see the world around them. The technology uses a smart camera that is "mounted on special glasses allowing the user to read texts and identify faces."
  • The product has already been tested on a limited number of patients; several advancements have been made to this product, and several organizations around the world have created their versions of a bionic eye, including a fully effective bionic eye that promises to bring back vision in humans with the help of a brain implant.
  • "With the help of a small headset, the technology processes the information captured by the camera and converts it into audio, which is transmitted to the ears of the visually impaired person."

Connected Hearing Aids

  • An example of an advanced hearing aid tech product is the Oticon Opn hearing aid, which connects to an iPhone or a smart TV and works as a set of earphones. "With this product, one can talk on the phone, listen to music or watch a TV show wirelessly."
  • "It also allows users to activate the heating or any home automation service when connecting to the Internet through the IFTTT network."

Artificial Nose

  • Another major innovation from the scientific community in the field of sensory enhancements is the artificial nose, which identifies odors even before the human olfactory sense is able to detect them. According to Tai Hyun, the co-creator of the device, it is a kind of biosensor that mimics the human nose.
  • The sensor can currently only identify the rotting smell, which comes from a compound called cadaverine.

Artificial Skin

  • "Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (USA) and the Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich (Switzerland)" have developed a sensory enhancement product called the Second Skin. "The tissue, made with a thin, transparent film of pectin and water, detects temperature changes in the range between 5 and 50 degrees Celsius." This technology can help in a variety of situations; for instance, they can be applied on bandages so that the doctors can know if "the patient’s temperature is increasing due to an infection in the wound."

Laboratory Tongues

  • "Some oral cancer patients can lose their ability to speak due to the damage caused by the tumors in their tongue; a team of dentists from the University of Okayama (Japan) has developed a movable tongue prosthesis for oral cancer patients."
  • Other artificial tongue products in the market come with sensors that help them compare and measure food flavors.

Additional Sensory Enhancement Products

  • "In the military domain, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), through funding, is trying to build “thought helmets” to enable telepathic communication using brain–computer interfaces to give soldiers extra senses, such as night vision, and the ability to “see” magnetic fields caused by landmines."
  • "Some DIY cyborgs have implanted magnets in their fingertips; a cyborg with a magnet implanted in its finger can sense magnetic fields that would otherwise be completely undetectable."

Summary of Findings

  • While we were able to list several sense-enhancement and sense-creation projects that have been created, tested, and proposed, there are ample examples of sense-enhancement and sense-creation products available in the public domain, and we propose further research to identify such products. Due to the nature of this request, we have used sources that were published between 2012 and 2020. Additionally, during our research, we also observed that most of these products and projects are still in their testing phases and are not available commercially.
  • Due to time constraints, we could only provide some examples of sense-enhancement and sense-creation projects, but during our research, we found several case studies and research reports about such products.
  • SIENNA is an organization that is active in the field of sensory enhancements in Europe. The organization provides annual and quarterly reports on the advancements that have been made in the field.
  • An article from TreadHunter provided a list of 16 sensory enhancement gadgets that are currently being used in the market; these include VR screens and augmented reality for visually impaired people, vision-enhancing eyewear, virtual reality suits that stimulate motion capture, and climate control.

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