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JU scientists will work on a sense enhancements system

JU scientists will work on a sense enhancements system

Researchers from the Jagiellonian University and the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences will develop a prototype of a sense enhancements system for perceiving safety and evaluate its cognitive impact on users.

Enhancing the perceptual and intellectual ability of people by technology is no longer fiction. For example, recent new technologies have been developed for improving user's memory and attention ability, giving the user a sense of the magnetic north (Kaspar et al. 2014) as well as sharpening the user's aesthetic and moral senses (Gunia & Indurkhya, 2017).

Combining all these approaches, the (long-term) goal is to develop a general framework for sense enhancement by cognitive technologies. As a starting point for this, the Jagiellonian University and the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences (OUAS) will develop a prototype of a sense enhancements system for perceiving safety and evaluating its cognitive impact on users. This project shall be instigated by the bilateral exchange of scientists program of the NAWA and the DAAD. Within the funding period, Dr Bipin Indurkhya, Dr Artur Gunia from the JU Department of Cognitive Science, as well as Milina Jäger and Julius Schöning from the OUAS will gain international research experiences. Next to extensive weeks of joint onsite research in Poland and Germany at least two joint papers are planned to be published in journals and presented at international conferences.

A bike-riding scenario is chosen as a prototype of a sense enhancements system for perceived safety. Within the bike-riding scenario, the rider should become aware of the unseen road users, i.e., road users not in the rider's visual field. This awareness, produced by perceptual enhancement technologies, creates a sense for the rider – the safety sense.

To work on this prototype, it is essential to identify which senses have value for perceptual enhancement technologies. Therefore, the visual, olfactory and tactile senses are a systematic benchmark to find a possible ranking or find out which sense can be used for undisturbed superposition of additional information without blocking normal functions of the senses. Next to this first work package guided by the Polish side, the second work package developed a wearable computer system for scene awareness, capable of detecting all moving objects and their distances from a 360° viewpoint. This wearable computer system also triggers the stimuli for the perceptual enhancement like a vibrotactile generator, an olfactory aroma dispenser, and VR visualizations. For the implementation, AI algorithms and sensors for scene awareness needed to be optimized in terms of energy consumption, enabling a wearable computer system. The German side guides the development of the wearable computer systems. The prototype, composed of these work packages, and its cognitive impact on the riders are evaluated jointly by both sides. Such an evaluation ensures a broad spectrum of test subjects, different road scenes and promotes binational research cooperation.

The researchers will transfer their findings and ideas into grand proposals to develop a general framework for sense enhancement by cognitive technologies during the funding period. This joint project, the joint papers, and some joint grant proposals are the starting points for further cooperation between the Jagiellonian University and the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences.

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