wereable technologies, Makesense, Gianmaria Vernetti

Wereable technologies and the science of making sense

Coding audio streams directly into the brain

Articles by Gianmaria Vernetti May 29, 2015

A couple of days ago I was surfing on Kickstarter searching for new promising projects, and I decided to have a look at brand new wereable technologies projects. Together with the Internet of Things, weareable technologies are the next big thing in innovation, with a bunch of applications ranging from entertainment to sports to medical. I think that wereable devices can create new developments about the interaction between technology, our body and our senses.

So, since the mission of Makesense is to find new ways to make sense, I found this wonderful quote by philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt:

“Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what is given by the senses”.

On Kickstarter I had the chance to look at a very promising project called VEST.
VEST is the acronym for Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer and is a wereable vest that communicates sounds to the brain by using the sense of touch, giving therefore a new sense of hearing.
VEST has been developed by Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and by his graduate Scott Novich.

wereable technologies, Makesense, Gianmaria Vernetti

The project is based on sensory substitution, to say a non-invasive technique for bypassing the loss of one sense by feeding its information through another channel.
VEST is a vibratory vest that allows people with deafness or hearing impairments to perceive audio information through vibrations on their torso.
External sounds are recorded through a microphone and sent to a microcontroller that codes and converts them into a vibrational mapping.

The overall goal of the project is to better understand how sensory streams can sent into atypical sensory channels to restore perception or give new perceptions.
In this perspective, VEST aims at expanding human perception by streaming new kind of data into the brain.

I think that projects like VEST can contribute at developing new ways of thinking about our senses and about how are senses communicate with the external world.

I truly think that it makes sense.