Super-Proprioception: Ourselves, Better

A fighter pilot is engaged in a mock dogfight 35,000 feet above the earth. She’s diving, turning, and climbing, enduring g-forces that make it feel like a giant is trying to crush her. All the while, she’s maintaining visual contact with her adversary, who’s at a great disadvantage. You see, our pilot can see the space 360 degrees around her. It’s as if her plane isn’t even there.

 

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This is not a scene from a sci-fi movie, but something called super-proprioception; Man and machine working together ever more seamlessly to achieve new goals that each alone would not be able to accomplish.

 

The system we described above actually exists; it was developed for the F-35 fighter program. The plane is equipped with 6 cameras around its body, each linked to the highly personalized helmet the pilot is wearing. As the pilot turns their head to look around, the camera senses those movements and sends an image of where he is looking to the display on his helmet, even if where he is looking is actually through the floor of the jet. A good way to think of it is to imagine how the pilot would see the world if they were flying Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. Pilots are even reporting having dreams where they and their jets are fused into one body. The fact that this system has had some recently-reported hiccups is only proof of how ambitious and mindboggling this kind of technology is.

 

While this is definitely the most developed example of super-proprioception, the thinking is being applied to other areas. Prosthetics are the perfect case in point. The new limbs are marvels of science with some that even respond to nerve impulses to offer a sense of touch like a real arm or hand. But, they still do not feel like real limbs, they can’t pick up change without a person looking and controlling them. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is hoping to change all that. Using fully-implantable neural interface microsystems that communicate wirelessly, they hope to create prosthetics with a sense of feeling, that are more natural to wear, and more intuitive.

 

Let’s also look at surround view cameras. They provide an aerial view of an automobile to help protect against backover deaths as well as the usual scrapes and fender benders. Its further proof that super-proprioception can be integrated into our daily lives. How integegrated is limited only by what our imaginations deem possible.

 

What do you think about super-proprioception? Where would you like to see super-proprioception applied next?

 

And don’t forget to explore the imaginative ways that HP is augmenting and enriching human perception. HP Aurasma is an augmented reality technology that allows you to unlock and interact with digital content around you—content that’s invisible to the human eye. Then there’s the Zvr Virtual Reality Display, which allows users to move and manipulate three-dimensional representations of objects on screen, which can be a powerful tool for everything from architecture to engineering to heart surgery

Comments
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