Engineers develop enhanced vision; GPS tracking tech for your brain

Researchers have unveiled cutting-edge technology that combines the Internet, GPS and biofeedback to augment and enhance your natural vision.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Can scientists make our senses smarter?

A team of researchers from the Telecommunications Research Center in Vienna have unveiled cutting-edge technology that combines the Internet, global positioning satellite tracking technology and biofeedback to augment and enhance your natural vision.

Engineers Matthias 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 real world.

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 to work.

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 last weekend at the inaugural Augmented Human International Conference in Megeve, France.

But that's not the only approach to augmenting human ability.

Here's a video of another wearable "sixth sense" device for gestures developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

Follow Augmented Human on Twitter.

[via Discovery News]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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