Radical sensing

Team: Jay hong \ Selwa Sweidan

Winner of Microsoft Design Expo 2015 Best Overall

Radical Sensing is a body of work at the intersection of wearable technology, olfaction and performance research. It imagines a future in which people have chosen to replace their noses with a “super smelling” neuroprosthetic or a “post-nose”.

For centuries scholars have placed smell at the bottom of a hierarchy of senses. However with advancements in brain imaging technology the hegemonic divide between what we know and don’t know has collapsed. The sense of smell is actually the most complex of the senses in terms of how it’s mapped within the brain.

Radical Sensing looks at neuroscience, physical computing and performance research to explore the potential of designing for the non-rational, intuitive and emotive aspects of brain computing. Questioning how removal of the body part become aspirational?

Radical sensing

Team: Jay hong \ Selwa Sweidan

Winner of Microsoft Design Expo 2015 Best Overall

Radical Sensing is a body of work at the intersection of wearable technology, olfaction and performance research. It imagines a future in which people have chosen to replace their noses with a “super smelling” neuroprosthetic or a “post-nose”.

For centuries scholars have placed smell at the bottom of a hierarchy of senses. However with advancements in brain imaging technology the hegemonic divide between what we know and don’t know has collapsed. The sense of smell is actually the most complex of the senses in terms of how it’s mapped within the brain.

Radical Sensing looks at neuroscience, physical computing and performance research to explore the potential of designing for the non-rational, intuitive and emotive aspects of brain computing. Questioning how removal of the body part become aspirational?

Performative Prototyping

So how do you design for a technology/ability that does not exist? This challenge led us to the idea of working with performers (specifically those with specialized movement or dance training). We started calling this process "performative prototyping”. Their spatial vocabulary allows for rich messaging and interpretation in a very collaborative manner. It is a symbolic and metaphorical process that turns formal movement into a narrative which we then work off of.

Performative Prototyping loop

PERFORMATIVE PROTOTYPING
divergent process

Performative Prototyping is a divergent process, that allow working at a conceptual level with technology that doesn’t exist. The process led to consider three key areas in thinking around nose neurorprosthetic, that could not have been thought with a conventional approach.

MEMORY

With scent test with group of diverse performers and their verbalize reactions, we though around the possibility of the augmented nose prosthetic facilitating richer discourse of smell. What is the impact of a smell memory device on smell literacy?

Control

Started as a test of stereo smell, further we extended the straws and led the performer through improvisation.Through the process started thinking of control. What does it mean to relinquish control of your nose willingly or unwillingly?

Sharing

The first test of the sharing dynamic of leader and follower led to the idea of sharing and intimacy to the extreme. We gave performers a restrictive and uncomfortable prototype to create the experience. What does sensorial consensus mean and could the breathe be a cue to facilitate “consensus”?