CS 594
Special Topics Course

Human Augmentics

Technologies for Expanding the Capabilities and Characteristics of Humans

"Every disruption begins with an n of 1."
- Larry Smarr
Spring 2012
Updated: 2/28/2012


    Fridays 10am - 12:30pm

    Office Hours: Thurs 2pm - 4pm in 2032 Engineering Research Facility Building (842 W Taylor St)


    2068 Engineering Research Facility Building (842 W Taylor St)


   Jason Leigh, Robert Kenyon

Course Description

Film, television and video games such as The Six Million Dollar Man, Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and as Deus Ex painted a future where technology will ultimately fuse with humans. But that future is not as far away as we think!

Exponential advances in technology miniaturization have laid the groundwork for transforming high-tech gadgets into technology that will allow humans to perform beyond their natural sensory, cognitive and motor abilities – in other words, they have the potential to enable humans to see and hear better, absorb and interpret more information, and increase physical endurance.

One can think of Human Augmentics (HA) as the driving force in the non-biological evolution of humans.  Eyeglasses, hearing aids, and pacemakers can be considered HA’s early progenitors.  Today there is a patchwork of technologies, including Smartphones, robotic limbs, Bluetooth earpieces, and personal biometrics sensors, each filling a small augmentation niche. What was previously considered science fiction, such as contact lens displays, brain-computer interfaces and personal exoskeletons, will become ubiquitous, and we will see the emergence of large populations of humans equipped with such augmentations.

In this course, students will be introduced to this burgeoning field by: (1) designing, building and demonstrating human augmentics technologies; (2) learning about the fundamentals of human limitations (sensory, cognitive and physical) as a foundation for the science of Human Augmentics; (3) surveying research in the area by reviewing relevant conference proceedings.

Anticipated Students

Students will consist of a mix of MS and PhD level students from Engineering, Art, Humanities, and Health including, but not limited to: Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, BioEngineering, Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, Communication, Health Science, Rehabilitation Science, and Art and Design.

Undergraduate seniors may also take the course with faculty consent.

Topics List

1.     Limits of Human Sensory, Cognitive and Physical Systems

·       Characteristics of the Human Visual System

·       Perception-Action paradigm in Humans

                                      i.     Motor control limitations

                                     ii.     Perceptual illusions

·       Cognitive Characteristics

                                      i.     Workload effects on cognition

                                     ii.     Data overload effects on behavior

·       Understanding Physiological Systems

                                      i.     Muscle, major organs

                                     ii.     Life sustaining processes

2.     Principles of Wearable Computing Technologies

·       Human Augmentics Ecosystem to connect devices & the Cloud

                                      i.     Augmentics devices: Displays, robots, sensors

                                     ii.     Cognitive Amplifiers

·       Compensatory devices [Healthy & Disabled populations]

                                      i.     Prosthesis, Brain Machine Interfaces

3.     Principles of Persuasive Technologies

·       Designing for proper, timely and directed feedback to user.

·       Designing for trust building between user and persuasive device.

4.     Principles of Artificial Implants, Brain Computer Interfaces, Human Exoskeletons

·       Blood brain barrier, long-term problem with electrode implants

·       Coordination among sensors to mimic physiological systems

5.     Rapid Device Prototyping with Arduino

·       Using VR systems for prototyping

·       Using Arduino for prototyping

·       Using Rapid Prototyping machines

6.     Sensors & Networks / Cyber-Physical Systems

·       Biometrics Sensors

·       Environmental Sensors

·       Body Area Networks

7.     Ethical Ramifications of Human Augmentation

Class Discussion Site

Wifi Access

Readings & Resources

Course Schedule

    Recorded lectures are compiled here.
  • Week 1 (Jan 13)
    • Intro to the class & Human Augmentics
  • Week 2 (Jan 20)
    • Asthma care in urban youth- Giselle Mosnaim
    • Colon care- Renee Taylor
    • Class team formation (3 students per team)
      • Area 1 (4 teams): Asthma Care
      • Area 2 (2 teams): Colon Care
      • Area 3 (2 teams): Audio Dilation
      • Area 4 (2 teams): Spider Sense
  • Week 3 (Jan 27)
    • Android development - Ronald Garay
    • Open brainstorming of ideas for project areas
    • Formation of project teams
  • Week 4 (Feb 3)
    • Introduction to Arduino & Rapid Prototyping - Daniel Sauter
    • Assignment 1 DUE: Informal presentation of project ideas by each team
  • Week 5 (Feb 10)
  • Week 6 (Feb 17)
    • Cognitive Audiology - Valeriy Shafiro
    • Persuasive Technologies - Jason Leigh
  • Week 7 (Feb 24)
    • Assignment 2 DUE: Detailed presentation of Final Project
    • Reviewed by Giselle Mosnaim
    • Plan visit to Rush Hospital in March
  • Week 8 (Mar 2)
    • Complete Assignment 2 presentations.
    • Wearable Computing, Body Area Networks - Bob Kenyon / Jason Leigh
    • Assignment 3 DUE: Student paper presentation proposals (based on Readings list above)
  • Week 9 (Mar 9)
  • Week 10 (Mar 16)
    • Prosthetics - Todd Kuiken (TBD)
    • Cyber Physical Systems - Cloud Computing, Sensor Networks - Jason Leigh (TBD)
    • Project Progress Review
  • Week 11 (Mar 23) - Spring Break
  • Week 12 (Mar 30)
    • Assignment 4 DUE: Individual student paper presentations begin (30 students, 15 minutes per student)
  • Week 13 (Apr 6)
    • Assignment 4 DUE: Individual student paper presentations continue
  • Week 14 (Apr 13)
    • Assignment 4 DUE: Individual student paper presentations continue
  • Week 15 (Apr 20)
    • Project Progress Review
  • Week 16 (Apr 27)
    • Project Progress Review
  • Week 17  (Exam Week)
    • Assignment 5 DUE: Final project presentations & semester paper