What is Human Augmentation?

Human augmentation is a field of research that aims to enhance human abilities through medicine or technology.

This vast field has numerous applications ranging from prosthetic exoskeletons and glasses to organ replacement.

In the past, the main focus of human augmentation has been on creating medicine or surgically installing implants to enhance human abilities. Lately, however, augmented reality and interactive technologies have also enabled more non-invasive ways to enhance human capabilities.

In general, there are three stages of human augmentation: substitution, addition, and extension. Substitutional human augmentation entails enhancing impaired persons to regain their missing abilities; two examples are a prosthetic arm and an insulin pump.

Within additional human augmentation, the focus lies on expanding the human abilities that we are born with. So, prosthetically creating the eleventh finger or enabling 360-degree vision are both forms of additional human augmentation.

In the extension stage, you can let your imagination run wild; extension is not just strengthening human abilities but creating entirely new ones. Think about the ability to perceive your own internal health statistics in a similar way you experience how hungry you are. Other examples that fall into the extension category are extending life or sensing the electromagnetic field around us.

Our Mission

Human freedom is something HART fundamentally believes in.

We envision a future where the constraints of human biology dissolve, and new ways of experiencing the world arise by giving people freedom of experience.

Throughout history, technological and cultural progress has freed up the human experience. We now have information at our fingertips and are free to express ourselves the way we want. However, the way in which we experience the world is still limited by the sensory receptors given to us at birth.

HART’s first long term goal is tech-related - a platform that shows the possibility of human augmentation with some examples of applications while allowing others to build their own. Imagine a platform like the App Store, but instead of apps, anyone can download new senses for their haptic devices. The second goal is to raise awareness of the subject of human augmentation and bring it into the domain of public conversation. Since HART has won the TU/e contest we now know the world is ready for and excited about our vision for the future!

Our proof of concept

Imagine this: you are on a trip to Japan, visiting an ancient temple in the remote mountains.

You are immersing yourself in the foreign culture and learning more every moment, but you are held back by one barrier: the language barrier.

We want to utilize the current knowledge of state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence, advanced sensors, and the human brain and body to enable people to comprehend every language in the world, regardless of one's hearing capabilities.

Take a second to read and absorb the following statement: "one deaf subject said he had the impression of hearing speech". This is paraphrased from a 1991 PhD conducted at TU/e, where the sound was transformed into a vibrational sensation on the fingertip of a deaf person to give them an alternative way to perceive sound. Within 5-10 hours of training, deaf test subjects got significantly better at recognizing words by a combination of lip-reading and the tactile sensations, and one deaf person even reported feeling that he “felt like he was hearing speech” although this was physically impossible. Research has shown that humans are surprisingly quick at learning to decipher such vibrational patterns and interpret them similarly to how you interpret these words you are reading.

So, on your trip to Japan, you will be equipped with a device that would translate all languages spoken around you to a unified language of vibrations. Now, with the HART’s device on your skin, the barrier to communicate with the world and be fully immersed in a new culture can be completely erased.