They may look somewhat bulky and a bit like someone wandered out of an avant garde theater, but a pair of concept pieces developed by students and the Royal College of Arts in London allow wearers to fine tune their senses of sight and hearing. Called “Eidos,” from the Greek for "form," "essence," "type," or "species," the system uses sensors and computer processing to select sensory input and alter it for applications in sport, the arts and medicine.
Operating in real time, the Eidos devices aren't meant to merely amplify the senses, but to enhance them and introduce the factor of selection. There are two devices: Edios Vision and Eidos Audio.
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Eidos Vision (pictured below) is a simple arrangement of a visor equipped with a camera and a head-mounted display attached to a computer. Its function is to take the input of the camera and process it so that what comes out of the eyepieces provides a sense of motion similar to long-exposure photography. In other words, the wearer sees moving objects as a series of overlapping images moving across the scene. This means that the viewer doesn't just see things moving, but also trends and patterns of motion.
Behind the art deco exterior of Eidos Audio are directional microphones hooked to a computer that feeds into two earpieces and a transducer in the mouth for bone conduction. This means that the wearer not only hears through the ears, but also picks up the sound through the teeth and jaw bones directly in the inner ear. In other words, you can hear people talking inside your head.
Eidos Audio’s function is to allow the wearer to not only amplify sounds, but to select them. If you’re facing someone in a crowded room, the directional microphones can isolate what he’s saying by both amplifying the sound and neutralizing background noise.
The team sees a number of applications for the Eidos system. Eidos Vision could be used in sports to allow trainers to analyze performance in real time and by spectators to enhance their experience. It could also be used to add a new dimension to pursuits such as fashion and ballet.
Meanwhile, Eidos Audio might be used for listeners at concerts to focus on one instrument or singer while muting the rest. In addition to the aesthetic or sporting applications, the team also says that the technology could be used to help those whose senses have been lessened by age or disability, or to help students suffering from ADHD to avoid distraction.
The Eidos concepts will be part of an exhibit at the Royal College of Arts, from June 20 to 30.
The video below explains the concepts and the design philosophy behind them