Can scientists make our senses smarter?
A team of researchers from the Telecommunications Research Center in Vienna have
unveiled cutting-edge technology last year that combines the Internet, global positioning
satellite tracking technology and biofeedback to augment and enhance your
Baldauf, Peter Fröhlich and Siegfried Hutter took a state-of-the-art eye
tracker originally designed for web-use analysis and tweaked it for use in the
The researchers trained one camera on the user’s eye and a second on the scene in front of
them. By linking the cameras with a smartphone with a built-in compass and GPS,
the researchers could also identify the wearer’s orientation and location.
Then they added sensors that indicate whether the wearer is looking up or down. The entire
setup was attached to a bicycle helmet.
If the user closes their eyes for two seconds, a request is made for information about the
object(s) in front of them. The request goes to a remote computer, which scans
geo-reference databases on the Internet (such as Google Earth) and forwards the
result back to the user’s cell phone.
By using a text-to-speech engine, the data can be heard through an ear piece. The
researchers call it a “sixth sense” that happens to use two of the other five
In an example of a real-life application, a person who bumps into an old friend on the street
could recall their name and the date of their most recent encounter.
Called “Kibitzer” and targeted for “mobile urban exploration,” the innovation could be useful for
industry as well, such as for security training or work in the field.
The proof of concept invention was presented at the inaugural Augmented Human International Conference in
By Andrew Nusca |