Human Augmentics Situation Awareness Enhancement

SpiderSense prototype in action. - L. Long, EVL

Participants: Victor Mateevitsi,
Committee: Prof. Andrew Johnson (chair)
Prof. Robert Kenyon
Prof. Steve Jones
Prof. Jason Leigh
Prof. Luc Renambot

EVL PhD candidate Victor Mateevitsi discusses his proposed thesis research on Human Augmentics at his preliminary presentation.

Date: Wednesday December 17, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Room: 2068 ERF (CyberCommons, EVL)

Umwelt, the German word for environment, is a psychology term referring to the individual’s mental image of the surrounding world. This subjective universe is shaped by an organism’s unique perception of the environment around them and, therefore, differs from individual to individual. In other words, organisms experience the world through their senses, construct the mental model of their vicinity, and react upon it. Hence, this image never remains static - instead it is constantly refined, as a result of the dynamic nature of the world. Umwelt is closely related to the concept of situation awareness, that is the perception of environmental elements, comprehension of their nature, and projection of their near future status with respect to time and/or space.

Sensory perception (exteroception) of the surrounding environment is, as a matter of fact, restricted to the limitations of biological senses. For example, although we consider humans with five fully developed senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) as able-bodied individuals, they are actually impaired to a multitude of information that constantly surrounds them. To put things into perspective, both human sight and hearing, can only perceive a fraction of information - part of the electromagnetic spectrum (light waves), and of the sound frequencies accordingly. However, as sensory systems differ among species, other creatures have an entirely different perceptual experience, as they are able to perceive a distinct spectrum of information.

Despite the fact that our limited human senses restrict our Umwelt and, therefore, our situation awareness, Human Augmentics, referring to technologies that expand the capabilities and characteristics of humans, allows us to peek into an invisible “other” world, which is pretty big and unexplored. Thus, some important research questions arise: What would be the consequences of an expanded perception of the surrounding environment, and how would that affect an individual’s situation awareness? Since our Umwelt is limited by genetics, how would individuals attune with characteristics and capacities that lie beyond the human range? Given these points, it is my thesis that Human Augmentics (in contrast to non-augmented methods) expands an individual’s Umwelt, leading to improved situation awareness.

Email: vmatee2@UIC.EDU

Date: December 17, 2014

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