Pushing the bounds of vision could reveal hidden worlds

phys.org | 2/11/2019 | Staff
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Nature is complex – often too complex for humans to see. But squint-controlled glasses that let people see 3-D thermal images and a camera that can capture the inner workings of high-speed chemical reactions are helping to push the limits of human perception.

Human senses have already been highly tuned by millions of years of evolution. Our eyes, for example, sit on the front of our faces, allowing us to see in three dimensions, while the cells of our retina are sensitive to different wavelengths of light, giving us colour vision.

Senses - Limits - Bullet - Example - Eye

But our senses have limits. A speeding bullet, for example, travels too fast for the human eye to see.

"There are a lot of things we have a hard time perceiving with the senses we have," said Professor Albrecht Schmidt, a computer scientist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany and leader of a project called AMPLIFY.

Project - Ways - Senses - Perception - Technologies

"Our project is focused on finding ways of extending the traditional senses to enhance human perception with digital technologies."

Cameras, for example, can capture light that is beyond the visible spectrum and reveal movements that are too fast for the human eye.

Question - Prof - Schmidt - Lot - People

"The question is how do we make them intuitive to use," said Prof. Schmidt. A lot of people focus on creating implants, he says, but the issue is that they cannot be taken off.

"If you have something integrated into a pair of glasses, which I wear without consciously realising most of the time, we could amplify the senses only when needed."

Prof - Schmidt - Colleagues - University - Stuttgart

Prof. Schmidt, together with colleagues at the University of Stuttgart, has built a number of prototypes to do just this.

One is a pair of glasses that triggers a thermal image when the wearer squints their eyes. A camera incorporated into the frame produces images using visible light, near infrared and far infrared. These give the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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