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Neosensory: The future of perception

You go about the world with an extremely limited experience of reality. Not just you, but everyone you know. 

Evolution gave us several senses to build our perception of the world. But there is so much more out there for us to explore. 

We have the capacity to create more senses

Fortunately, brain science tells us that we can create and learn new sensory experiences1

Our brains, as amazing as they are, are trapped in darkness inside our heads. They don’t actually “see,” “hear,” or “sense” anything… at least not directly. Instead, they process trillions of electrical signals to find associations, detect patterns, and assign meaning to our world.

As a result, the brain doesn’t care where the signals come from: it simply takes in data streams and learns what to do with them. We can send many kinds of information to our brains, and with enough time, it eventually learns what it can do with the incoming data. 

Sensory substitution at Neosensory

At Neosensory, we’ve applied this idea to sensory substitution. Studied since the 1890s, this field refers to the transmission of information to the brain through unusual brain pathways2

Our team has created wearable technology that offers an alternative to the typical experience of hearing, seeing, balance, proprioception, and more. In early 2020, we launched our first product: Buzz

A new sensory experience

Buzz is a wearable wristband that captures sound and translates it into vibrational patterns felt on the skin. It sends data to your brain that is traditionally sent through your ears. Just like any other sense, your brain learns what the patterns represent. Developers can also use our open API and SDK to send different kinds of data (say, infrared light, stock market data, or any other information stream) via Bluetooth so that you can learn to understand it from Buzz’s vibrational patterns.

For example, imagine you feel a particular Buzz pattern at the same time you see a dog bark. With a little practice, your brain automatically associates the dog bark with the vibrational pattern (even when you can’t see the dog). Your brain naturally unlocks the key to what Buzz inputs mean.

And with that, a new sense is born. 

Want to learn more about how our technology works? Watch the TED Talk by our CEO, David Eagleman.

Further reading

1Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (2011). David Eagleman. New York Times bestselling book.

2Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain (2020). David Eagleman. Comes out August 25, 2020.

By Léa Bourgade, Marketing and Communications

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