“The Innovation Potential of Sensory Augmentation for Public Space” presented by Dartel and Rooij


Session Title:

  • Design and Public Art

Presentation Title:

  • The Innovation Potential of Sensory Augmentation for Public Space




  • Potential for the improvement of public space through technology is often sought in telephone applications. However, public space exists by grace of physical interaction between people and their environment, whereas smartphones often get in the way of such interaction. In contrast, Sensory Augmentation takes physical interaction as a starting point for applications. In this paper, we therefore explore the innovation potential of Sensory Augmentation for the improvement of public space. This was done by organizing brainstorm sessions aimed to yield design concepts for the application of sensory augmentation in public space. These brainstorms brought together experts in Sensory Augmentation with various stakeholders and resulted in 34 unique design concepts that addressed social interaction, play, health, navigation, and art, in public space. These concepts, for example, included a tool for the management of private space using a personal distance-to-vibration mapping, a sense for physiological changes that are indicative of hunger, and a proposal to improve the safety of ‘smartphone Zombies’. On the basis of our analysis of the 34 concepts, we conclude that Sensory Augmentation holds a broad potential to improve public space. As such, our research provides a first look into this innovation potential and may guide further research on it.