Tag Archives | senses

Enhanced Glasses Allow The Deaf To See Visualizations Of Sounds

Hopefully additional synesthetic devices such as smell-o-vision spectacles are in the pipeline as well. New Scientist writes:

If you can hear, you probably take sound for granted. Without thinking, we swing our attention in the direction of a loud or unexpected sound – the honk of a car horn, say.

Because deaf people lack access to such potentially life-saving cues, a group of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon built a pair of glasses which allows the wearer to “see” when a loud sound is made, and gives an indication of where it came from.

An array of seven microphones, mounted on the frame of the glasses, pinpoints the location of such sounds and relays that directional information to the wearer through a set of LEDs embedded inside the frame. The glasses will only flash alerts on sounds louder than a threshold level, which is defined by the wearer.

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How Advertisers Manipulate Us Through Scent And Sound

If you’ve witnessed the fetishization of “new Apple smell”, this makes perfect sense. Via the BBC:

In public spaces all over the world, companies are gunning for consumers’ attention, intruding through their ears, nose and eyes, constantly assaulting them with sounds, smells and visual props.

All the senses can be manipulated to attempt to alter consumer mood and perception. Some 83% of marketing budgets are focused on the eyes, according to Martin Lindstrom’s book Brand Sense. Stimulate two senses and the brand impact increases by 30%, rising to 70% when a third is added.

The way companies use smell and sound in addition to visual tools such as advertising posters is not obvious. The sense of smell, “has a direct connection to the emotional brain, unlike the other senses”, according to Andreas Keller, research associate at The Rockefeller University. “Evolutionarily, the emotions elicited by smells are disgust and fear – and whatever the opposites of these emotions are – and social or sexual emotions.

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What It’s Like Living Without The Ability To Feel Pain

A reminder that suffering has its purpose? 31-year-old Steven Pete was born with congenital analgesia – a rare genetic disorder rendering him unable to experience pain, though he has a sense of touch. Via the BBC, he explains that life without pain is a curse:

Steven Pete and his brother were born with the rare genetic disorder congenital analgesia. They grew up – in Washington state – with a sense of touch but, as he explains in his own words, without ever feeling pain.

It first became apparent to my parents that something was wrong when I was four or five months old. I began chewing on my tongue while teething. They took me to a paediatrician where I underwent a series of tests.

During my early childhood I was absent from school a lot due to injury and illness. There was one time, at the roller-skating rink. I can’t recall all of the details, but I know that I broke my leg.

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Tears Of Sadness As Chemical Weapons

London-based artist Angela Rose Bracco‘s work If You can Smell it, it has Mass grapples with the power of scents and substances in our environs to influence us. She imagines a future in which women’s tears (the smell of which suppresses males’ heart rates and testosterone levels) are mass produced and used for social engineering:

Science shows us, humans are responsive to chemical signals like other members of the mammalian species. One clinical trial applied the emotional tears of women to the upper lip of men. These men experienced a decrease in testosterone levels without visually witnessing the act of crying.

Accepting this as truth concludes that in our everyday lives we are constantly receiving information on an invisible and olfactory basis. Is it possible in the near present future to mass-produce chemosignals that can be used to decrease aggression in humanity?

If You can Smell it, it has Mass is an installation of a future clinic for the production and testing of emotional tears.

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How Humanity Picked Its Colors

Our long-ago ancestors saw two basic colors: light and dark. Today we see eleven (black, grey, white, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, brown, pink). Tomorrow we will see more. Empirical Zeal on “color colonialism” and the odd pattern that societies follow in erecting “color boundaries”:

Blue and green are similar in hue. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet.

One of the first fences in this color continuum came from crayons. In 1917, the first crayons were imported into Japan… There were different crayons for green (midori) and blue (ao), and children started to adopt these names. But the real change came during the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, when new educational material started to circulate. In 1951, teaching guidelines for first grade teachers distinguished blue from green, and the word midori was shoehorned to fit this new purpose.

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Synesthesia May Explain Healers Claims of Seeing People’s ‘Aura’

Via ScienceDaily:

Researchers in Spain have found that at least some of the individuals claiming to see the so-called aura of people actually have the neuropsychological phenomenon known as “synesthesia” (specifically, “emotional synesthesia”). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged ability.

In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. Synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people or letters with a particular color.

The study was conducted by the University of Granada Department of Experimental Psychology Óscar Iborra, Luis Pastor and Emilio Gómez Milán, and has been published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition. This is the first time that a scientific explanation has been provided for the esoteric phenomenon of the aura, a supposed energy field of luminous radiation surrounding a person as a halo, which is imperceptible to most human beings…

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What It’s Like To Have Ultraviolet Vision

Engineer and self described nerd Alek Komarnitsky describes how post cataract surgery, he now sees an expanded color spectrum. What could the lilac glow beyond violet be — auras, pet spirits, Venus rays? Via Komar:

Numerous people who have also had their natural lens removed have written me saying they see similar to what I describe below. I’ve been very happy so far with the Crystals implant for cataract surgery. But one unexpected/interesting aspect is I see a violet glow that others do not … I’m seeing Ultraviolet light!

An eye surgeon recently wrote about blue-violet color changes after Crystalens implants and his experience is that only 3% of patients have experienced (or mentioned!) this phenomena … but some people may just have more sensitive photoreceptors, so the vast majority of the patients would not see this.

Some related interesting tidbits include during WWII, the British used aphakics for signaling using UV lights … since only they could see it.

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Google To Sell Smart-Glasses By Year’s End

techGet ready for augmented-reality glasses that stream information to your eyeballs about the people and places surrounding you. Also, they will look like Oakleys worn by dads on motorboats. The New York Times writes:

People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.

According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year. These people said they are expected “to cost around the price of current smartphones,” or $250 to $600.

The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS.

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The ‘Forbidden Colors’ Our Eyes Can’t See

crane-piantanidaCan you imagine a reddish green? Not the muddy brown produced by mixing red and green paint, but a gloriously vivid color that looks a bit like red and a bit like green. How about a color that looks like a mix of blue and yellow, yet isn’t greenish? These exist, but are virtually impossible to see or envision — except with the help of retinal stabilization. Someday we may wear goggles to see the forbidden colors previously off limits. Via Life’s Little Mysteries:

“The observers of this unusual visual stimulus reported seeing the borders between the stripes gradually disappear, and the colors seem to flood into each other. Amazingly, the image seemed to override their eyes’ opponency mechanism, and they said they perceived colors they’d never seen before.”

Even though those colors exist, you’ve probably never seen them. Red-green and yellow-blue are the so-called “forbidden colors.” Composed of pairs of hues whose light frequencies automatically cancel each other out in the human eye, they’re supposed to be impossible to see simultaneously.

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A Machine To Let You Taste Words

A nonsensical waste of time? Goofy conceptual art? Or a magical cross-sensory experiment? A device that converts any word that you type into a cocktail, via Morskoiboy:

My piece has buttons working as pumps and has pipes instead of wires. It also has a display like any other electronic panel board, but as opposed to using liquid crystals as in electronic displays, my machine’s display functions via multicoloured syrups. My machine converts words into cocktails. And, yes, it does work. Now I can literally taste the flavor of my words.

Pressing the buttons on the keyboard injects the corresponding ingredients into the display, which tints different segments of the display and thus produces letters. You can try to imagine that each letter can have a taste (L-Lime, A-Apple), a color (R-Red, G-Green), or a name (K-Kahlua, J-Jagermeister).

morskoiboy cocktail machine 2

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