Life After the App: How Humans Will Connect with Ubiquitous Sensing

The 2017 Gabor Lecture will be presented by Professor Joseph Paradiso

We have already witnessed profound and often unanticipated developments as IoT starts to build out and the world is mediated via a mainly graphic wireless device held at arms length. But what will happen once the world is precognitively interpreted by what we term ‘sensory prosthetics’ that change what and how humans physically perceive, a world where your own intelligence is split ever more seamlessly between your brain and the cloud? Accordingly, this talk will overview the broad theme of interfacing humans to the ubiquitous electronic "nervous system" that sensor networks will soon extend across things, places, and people, going well beyond the ‘Internet of Things,’ to challenge the notion of physical presence. I'll illustrate this through two avenues of research–one looking at a new kind of digital "omniscience" (e.g., different kinds of browsers for sensor network data & agile frameworks for sensor representation) and the other looking at buildings & tools as "prosthetic" extensions of humans (e.g., making HVAC and lighting systems an extension of your natural activity and sense of comfort, or smart tools as human-robot cooperation in the hand), drawing from many projects that are running in my group at the MIT Media Lab and touching on technical areas ranging from wearable sensing/computing to spatialized audio and distributed sensor networks.

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