Notes on the Fabrication of Synthetic Senses


Session Title:

  • Orai, Sense, Interface

Presentation Title:

  • Notes on the Fabrication of Synthetic Senses



  • This paper argues that new synthetic senses can be designed for humans. Scientific visualization maps the output of a range of sensors into the visible spectrum, showing how these phenomena would appear if they were visible. These are only representations. The present work aspires to go beyond representation to the direct perception of physical properties not now available to the human sensory apparatus. Sensory substitution systems allow blind users to ?see? using the output of a video camera mapped onto the surface of the skin or to the tongue. Artificial vision systems prove that spatial distributions can be apprehended through surface receptors by means of a systematic variation in stimulation modulated by bodily movements. The transduction of a range of physical properties no more accessible to normal human perception than light to the blind becomes possible in principle. Its realization is a matter of empirical investigation. Artificial senses are sought, in part, to enable a richer world to become a part of direct human experience, and to open new aesthetic fields to investigation.