Fingersight Synesthesia Machine

Fingersight is a small device that can provide you with the synaesthetic ability to see what you can feel. Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which sensations in one form (like sight) can express in another form (like taste or sound).

(Fingersight Synesthesia (Synaesthesia) Machine)

We introduce here a concept we call Fingersight™, which may be embodied in a number of ways to provide a variety of different sensing and control devices for use as surrogates for vision and direct manipulation...

There are two major components to the concept, relating respectively to sensing and controlling the environment... the sensory component was originally designed to assist the visually impaired. The introduction of control into Fingersight has expanded the potential target population to the general public, who could make use of it as an intuitive and possibly even enjoyable new form of remote control.

Tiny cameras are mounted on each fingertip, which can be used to sweep through the visual environment in three dimensions. The image from each camera is fed back to the fingertip to which it is connected. Each finger has its own receptive field, which is stimulated by a small solenoid-based vibrator.

Machine vision processing of the image from each fingertip yields information about edges, distance to objects and even texture. In this way, the operator can distinguish coffee mugs or doorknobs, "feeling" them at a distance.

The Fingersight device is a pretty good match (from the tactile point of view, anyway) for the twist box from Rudy Rucker's 1988 Wetware.

It was the day after Christmas, and Stahn was plugged in… The twist-box took his sensory input, jazzed it and passed it on to his cortex. A pure software high, and no somatic aftereffects. Staring out the window was almost interesting. The maggies left jagged trails and the people looked like actors.
(Read more about Rucker's twist box)

This brings us to a third use for Fingersight, namely, entertainment.

Watch a short video in which a guy describes his experience with synesthesia. See the original paper about the device - Fingersight: Fingertip Visual Haptic Sensing and Control. Via Fully-Functioning Synaesthesia Machine.

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