Can you smell time? Your dog can.
On a very basic level, so can you: When you crack the lid on that old quart of milk, tentatively sniff and—peeyouu!—promptly dump that foul stuff down the sink, you are, in effect, smelling time. Specifically, you can smell that far too much time has elapsed since that milk was fresh.
But a dog can smell time with a sophistication that puts our simple sniffers to shame. “Odors exist in time, and dogs perceive that,” explains cognitive scientist and canine researcher Alexandra Horowitz of Columbia University. “Dogs use smell to ‘tell time,’ in some sense, because a more recently laid odor smells stronger, and an older odor smells weaker.”
A dog’s nose is a notoriously sensitive piece of equipment. With up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to our lousy 5 million, a dog can detect a single teaspoon of sugar dissolved into a million gallons of water, the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Unlike us, dogs are able to take in scent continuously, even as they exhale. What’s more, a dog’s nostrils are smaller than the distance between them, effectively giving dogs “stereo” sniffing power that carries subtle grades of information, including directionality.
Read full article at Strange Attractor
A few years ago, cognitive scientist Duje Tadin and his colleague Randolph Blake decided to test blindfolds for an experiment they were cooking up.
They wanted an industrial-strength blindfold to make sure volunteers for their work wouldn’t be able to see a thing. “We basically got the best blindfold you can get.” Tadin tells Shots. “It’s made of black plastic, and it should block all light.”
Tadin and Blake pulled one on just to be sure and waved their hands in front of their eyes. They didn’t expect to be able to see, yet both of them felt as if they could make out the shadowy outlines of their arms moving.
Being scientists, they wondered what was behind the spooky phenomenon. “We knew there wasn’t any visual input there,” Tadin says. They figured their minds were instinctively filling in images where there weren’t any.
After conducting several experiments involving computerized eye trackers, they proved themselves right. Between 50 and 75 percent of the participants in their studies showed an eerie ability to “see” their own bodies moving in total darkness. The research, put together by scientists at the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University, is published in the journal Psychological Science.
How were they so sure? “The only way you can produce smooth eye movements is if you’re following a target,” Tadin tells Shots. When our eyes aren’t tracking something very specific, they tend to jerk around randomly. “If you just try to make your eyes move smoothly, you can’t do it.” The researchers used this knowledge to test whether people could really distinguish their hand movements in the dark.
Text and Image via Neuromorphogenesis
In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz’s (2004) pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz’s theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems—i.e., it gets the neural correlates of emotion wrong, it isn’t able to distinguish emotions from bodily perceptions that aren’t emotions, it cannot account for emotions being directed towards particular objects, and it mischaracterizes emotion phenomenology. We argue that our theory accounts for the empirical evidence considered by Prinz and solves the problems faced by his theory. In particular, we maintain that our theory gives a uniﬁed and principled account of the relation between emotions and bodily perceptions, the intentionality of emotions, and emotion phenomenology.
Eidos consists of two pieces of experimental equipment that give you superhuman sight and hearing.
Eidos Vision enhances the way we see motion, while Eidos Audio lets us hear speech more selectively.
Eidos has broad application in areas where live audio and video analysis is valuable. For example, sportspeople can visualise and improve technique in real time. Eidos also has healthcare benefits where it can be used to boost or refine sensory signals weakened by ageing or disability. In the arts, Eidos can augment live performance such as ballet, fashion or music concerts. It allows us to highlight previously invisible or inaudible details, opening up new and customisable experiences.
Text and Image Via Tim Bouckley
The ‘Decelerator Helmet’ by German artist Lorenz Potthast offers an experimental approach to an essential subject of our globalized world. the technical reproducible senses are consigned to an apparatus which allows the user to perceive the world in slow motion. The stream of time as an apparently invariant constant is broken and subjected under the users control.
Processed by a small computer, the helmet uses a video-signal of a camera to slow down the stream seen via a head-mounted display and simultaneously shown at a monitor on the outside. the idea to decouple the personal perception from the natural timing enables the user to get aware about his own relationship to time. working as a ‘reflection-bubble, the helmet bridges relations between sensory perception, while disrupting the environment.
The technique of the decelerator extends the awareness of time and transforms the concept of present in a constructed, artificial state. On a different level, it dramatically visualizes how slowing down under all circumstances causes a loss of actuality and as idea is inconsistent with our surroundings.
Text and Image via designboom
Substitutional Reality system could be used to study cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric patients.
Christopher Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster Inception is set in a distant future where military technology enables one to infiltrate and surreptitiously alter other people’s dreams. Leonardo Di Caprio plays Dom Cobb, an industrial spy tasked with planting an idea into the mind of a powerful businessman. The film has a complex, layered structure: Cobb and the other characters create dreams within dreams within dreams, but they cannot distinguish between reality and the dream states they fabricate.
Most of us distinguish between real and imagined events using unconscious processes to monitor the accuracy of our experiences. But these processes can break down in some psychiatric conditions. Patients with schizophrenia, for example, can experience auditory and visual hallucinations that they believe are real, while some brain damaged and delusional patients live in a world of perpetual false memories. Japanese researchers have developed an “Inception helmet” that manipulates reality to simulate such experiences, and could be used to study cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.
The Substitutional Reality (SR) system, developed by researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute’s Laboratory for Adaptive Intelligence, is made of cheap, commercially available electronic components: a panoramic video camera used for recording, a computer for storing the recorded footage, and a head-mounted visual display that can switch seamlessly between the recorded footage and a live feed captured by a camera and microphone attached to it.
Excerpt of an article by Mo Constandi at The Guardian. Continue HERE
Image and video via MIRAGE
Are you a morning lark or a night owl? Scientists use that simplified categorization to explain that different people have different internal body clocks, commonly called circadian clocks. Sleep-wake cycles, digestive activities, and many other physiological processes are controlled by these clocks. In recent years, researchers have found that internal body clocks can also affect how patients react to drugs. For example, timing a course of chemotherapy to the internal body time of cancer patients can improve treatment efficacy and reduce side effects.
But physicians have not been able to exploit these findings because determining internal body time is, well, time consuming. It’s also cumbersome. The most established and reliable method requires taking blood samples from a patient hourly and tracking levels of the hormone melatonin, which previous research has tied closely to internal body time.
Excerpt of an article written by Dennis Normile, Science AAAS. Continue HERE
Googlegeist is a project by Chadwick Gibson exploring censorship, authenticity, museum policy, perception, digital art, and Google image data.
“Anybody interested in the work of Martine Feipel & Jean Beachmeil soon realizes that the notion of space is central to it. This is also the case in the artwork presented for the 2011 Venice Biennale. The observer is presented with a single idea: the obvious necessity of finding a new type of space.
At the root of their work is an awareness that sensorial perception has physiological limits – and that our conception of space is historically dated. Henceforth, in the wake of the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, it is a case of trying to go beyond the limit of a place to find a new one. This comes down to thinking about the meaning of the limit and the meaning of space which is mainly the result of tradition. The important thing is not to overstep or transgress the law by crossing the limit but to ‘‘open’’ a space at the very heart of the former space. This opening does not create new space to occupy, but rather a sort of pocket hidden inside the old meaning of the limit. It is about an opening in space according to the principle of slippage. This internal slippage and the recreation of space always implies the destruction of an institution. The meaning of the word “space” is profoundly destabilized. In this, our two artists are very topical because the management of space is in crisis. This space we think of as living space is simultaneously a space of action, orientation and communication. The development of science and technology, the erosion of particular visions of the world and traditional value systems, the structural crisis of the economy and the exacerbation of the issue of logic question a traditional conception of space and management that only thinks in terms of fields of competence and is obsessed with the constraints of growth and valorization. We live in a period of mutation in which past models of orientation and action no longer work.
Certainly, the situation still seems open, but we lack concepts of action capable of responding to the ecological crisis and the crisis of civilization we are currently experiencing without endangering democracy, human rights and the physical necessities of life. Today, there is no doubt that it is more urgent than ever to consider any reflection on the question of space as a work of civilization, as a remodeling of civilization. Modifying the everyday completely remodels our world, and that is what this is all about.
The artwork can be understood on various different levels that touch as much on philosophy as on art history or society.”
Text by René Kockelkorn, curator. Le Cercle Fermé
The Theatre of Synthetic Realities is a series of real and fictitious locations and events, actors and devices that attempt to question our production, embodiment and perception of social space as mediated through technology. Through the use of ubiquitous personal and mobile computing we have become both constant consumers and producers of information, both live receiver and transmitter. We, and our environments, exist simultaneously as physical and real-time digital manifestations, as such augmenting our relationship to space, time and experience.
Text and Image via Madhav Kidao
Making Friends and Other Functions is a illustration of a possible iteration of the Theatre. Working collaboratively and symbiotically with a network of semi-autonomous machine actors, the designer/editor attempts to recreate a film for a live global audience, through the use of unwilling actors. The machines construct their own reality based upon the information they extract from their environment alongside the selective guidance of the observer. This is ultimately a task with no beginning or end, and fundamentally questionable ethical integrity.
“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.” —Herman Melville, Billy Budd.
In Japan, people often refer to traffic lights as being blue in color. And this is a bit odd, because the traffic signal indicating ‘go’ in Japan is just as green as it is anywhere else in the world. So why is the color getting lost in translation? This visual conundrum has its roots in the history of language.
Blue and green are similar in hue. They sit next to each other in a rainbow, which means that, to our eyes, light can blend smoothly from blue to green or vice-versa, without going past any other color in between. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet. As the language evolved, in the Heian period around the year 1000, something interesting happened. A new word popped into being – midori – and it described a sort of greenish end of blue. Midori was a shade of ao, it wasn’t really a new color in its own right.
Excerpt of a paper via Empirical Zeal. Read it HERE. Part 2 HERE
What would you see if you could look inside a hallucinating brain? Despite decades of scientific investigation, we still lack a clear understanding of how hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), mescaline, and psilocybin (the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms) work in the brain. Modern science has demonstrated that hallucinogens activate receptors for serotonin, one of the brain’s key chemical messengers. Specifically, of the 15 different serotonin receptors, the 2A subtype (5-HT2A), seems to be the one that produces profound alterations of thought and perception. It is uncertain, however, why activation of the 5-HT2A receptor by hallucinogens produces psychedelic effects, but many scientists believe that the effects are linked to increases in brain activity. Although it is not known why this activation would lead to profound alterations of consciousness, one speculation is that an increase in the spontaneous firing of certain types of brain cells leads to altered sensory and perceptual processing, uncontrolled memory retrieval, and the projection of mental “noise” into the mind’s eye.
The English author Aldous Huxley believed that the brain acts as a “reducing valve” that constrains conscious awareness, with mescaline and other hallucinogens inducing psychedelic effects by inhibiting this filtering mechanism. Huxley based this explanation entirely on his personal experiences with mescaline, which was given to him by Humphrey Osmond, the psychiatrist who coined the term psychedelic. Even though Huxley proposed this idea in 1954, decades before the advent of modern brain science, it turns out that he may have been correct. Although the prevailing view has been that hallucinogens work by activating the brain, rather than by inhibiting it as Huxley proposed, the results of a recent imaging study are challenging these conventional explanations.
Excerpt of an article written by Adam Halberstadt and Mark Geyer at Scientific American . Continue HERE
Image above: “Prayer” by Alex Grey
Many strands of Eric Kandel’s life come together in his latest work, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. The 82-year-old University Professor and co-director of the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative was born in Vienna, where, as a boy of 8, he witnessed the Nazis march into the Austrian capital. Decades later, he recalls how much his own intellectual interests were shaped not only by the Holocaust that followed, but by the cosmopolitan city that in the early 1900 served as an extraordinary incubator for creativity and thought that shaped the world we live in today.
Q. What made you decide to turn your attention to the neurobiology of how we perceive art?
There are many motivating factors. One was my longterm interest in Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele, the three Austrian Modernists, my fascination with Vienna 1900 and with Freud. I wanted to become a psychoanalyst and I’m Viennese so I sense a shared intellectual history, particularly with turn-of-the-century Vienna. But the immediate stimulus actually came from [Columbia President] Lee Bollinger. The idea behind the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative is to try to understand the human mind in biological terms and to use these insights to bridge the biology of the brain with other areas of the humanities. Lee expressed the belief that the new science of the mind could have a major impact on the academic curriculum, that in a sense everyone at the University works on the human mind. I felt I was doing this for personal reasons, but isn’t it wonderful that it is also in line with one of the missions of the University?
Excerpts from an Interview at Columbia University in the City of New York
Gestalten Books: Thanks to the omnipresence of computers, cell phones, gaming systems, and the internet, a broad audience has traded its past reservations against technology for an almost insatiable curiosity for all things technical. Against this background, unprecedented new tools and possibilities are opening up for the world of design. In addition to sketchbooks and computers, young designers are increasingly using programming languages, soldering irons, sensors, and microprocessors as well as 3D milling or rapid prototyping machines in their work. The innovative use of powerful hardware and software has become affordable and, most of all, much easier to use. Today, the sky is the limit when it comes to ideas for experimental media, unconventional interfaces, and interactive spatial experiences.
A Touch of Code shows how information becomes experience. The book examines how surprising personal experiences are created where virtual realms meet the real world and where dataflow confronts the human senses. It presents an international spectrum of interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of laboratory, trade show, and urban space that play with the new frontiers of perception, interaction, and staging created by current technology. These include brand and product presentations as well as thematic exhibits, architecture, art, and design.
The comprehensive spectrum of innovative spatial and interactive work in A Touch of Code reveals how technology is fundamentally changing and expanding strategies for the targeted use of architecture, art, communication, and design for the future.
A Touch of Code
Olafur Eliasson ‘Your Rainbow Panorama’
Olafur Eliasson, Movement microscope, 2011
Duration 14:15 min.
Supported by LUMA Foundation
© Olafur Eliasson, 2011
Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this “couch guitar” by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the “couch guitar”.
These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.
Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab.
This video premiered at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California on February 29, 2012. Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.
The engineers from Penn, Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev, have formed a company called KMel Robotics that will design and market these quadrotors.
Video Produced and Directed by Kurtis Sensenig
Quadrotors and Instruments by Daniel Mellinger, Alex Kushleyev and Vijay Kumar
More information HERE
A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors navigate spaces with obstacles.