Consider the following experience: “To get my driver’s licence I had to have my eyesight checked. The optician recommended that I wear glasses. Putting on the glasses, I was able for the first time to see things at a distance in focus.” The experience of getting glasses to correct one’s eyesight is a powerful example of a traditional technology that aids human perception. In this example, it is also apparent that before a person has experienced glasses, she may not even realize that something is missing in her visual perception. Once experienced, wearing glasses and seeing more objects in the environment in focus will become natural and one would not assume that this creates information overload or increases the cognitive load. In contrast, having corrected vision may even reduce the effort required for information intake and hence could even reduce the cognitive load. The project vision for amplifying human senses will take this experience as an ideal. The aim is to understand how to create digital tools that provide new perceptual capabilities that provide a user experience that is superior to unaugmented perception and will not increase the cognitive load.
This research complements the work conducted in context awareness and robot perception over the last 20 years. Research in these fields aimed to create systems that allow computers to see their environment, to form a representation of their surroundings, and to hence become smarter. As sensory systems have advanced, the research proposed here builds on these findings to improve human perception.