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New technology for consciousness science July 11, 2012

Posted by Tom Froese in Publications.
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In this forthcoming paper the motivations and methods for the Enactive Torch are described in more detail:

Using Human–Computer Interfaces to Investigate ‘Mind-As-It-Could-Be’ from the First-Person Perspective

Tom Froese • Keisuke Suzuki • Yuta Ogai •Takashi Ikegami

There is a growing community of researchers who are interested in establishing a science of the experiential or ‘lived’ aspects of the human mind. This shift from cognitive science to consciousness science presents a profound challenge to synthetic approaches. To be sure, symbolic artificial intelligence constituted the original foundation of cognitive science; subsequent progress in robotics has helped to pioneer a new understanding of the mind as essentially embodied, situated, and dynamical, while artificial life has informed the concept of biological self-organization. However, with regard to the development of a science of the experienced mind, the relevance of these synthetic approaches still remains uncertain. We propose to address the challenge of first-person experience by designing new human–computer interfaces, which aim to artificially mediate a participant’s sensorimotor loop such that novel kinds of experience can emerge for the user. The advantage of this synthetic approach is that computer interface technology enables us to systematically vary the ways in which participants experience the world and thereby allows us to systematically investigate ‘mind-as-it-could-be’ from the first-person perspective. We illustrate the basic principles of this method by drawing on examples from our research in sensory substitution, virtual reality, and interactive installation.

IEEE Transactions on Haptics July 11, 2012

Posted by Tom Froese in Publications.
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What is it like to use the Enactive Torch? The first systematic study of the experience of using this devise is going to come out soon in IEEE Transactions on Haptics. The title and abstract are as follows.

The Enactive Torch: A New Tool for the Science of Perception

Tom Froese, Marek McGann, William Bigge, Adam Spiers, and Anil K. Seth

The cognitive sciences are increasingly coming to terms with the embodied, embedded, extended, and experiential aspects of the mind. Exemplifying this shift, the enactive approach points to an essential role of goal-directed bodily activity in the generation of meaningful perceptual experience, i.e., sense-making. Here, building on recent insights into the transformative effects of practical tool-use, we make use of the enactive approach in order to provide a definition of an enactive interface in terms of augmented sense-making. We introduce such a custom-built interface, the Enactive Torch, and present a study of its experiential effects. The results demonstrate that the user experience is not adequately captured by any standardly assumed perceptual modality; rather, it is a new feeling that is mediated by the design of the device and shaped by the overall situation of the task. Taken together these findings show that there is much to be gained by synergies between engineering and the cognitive sciences in the creation of new experience-centered technology. We suggest that the guiding principle should be the design of interfaces that serve as a transparent medium for augmenting our natural skills of interaction with the world, instead of requiring conscious attention to the interface as an opaque object in the world.