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A Mask That Can Give You Superhuman Abilities

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the your-superhero-name-is-conspicuous-man dept.

Input Devices 68

An anonymous reader writes "The students at Royal College of Art in London have developed masks that can increase your sight and hearing senses. They allow you to choose one conversation or one visual among a cluster of sounds and visuals, then hear or see the one which you want to. There are two masks developed by them: Eidos Vision and Eidos Audio. Eidos Audio allows a wearer to hear a specific conversation in a crowd and could be developed as a hearing aid and help ADHD sufferers. Eidos Vision improves vision allowing wearer to see 'time trails' similar to a timelapse photography."

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I'll stick with... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635523)

my Guy Fawkes mask and its superpowers.

College of "arts"? (0)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635553)

Those masks would make anyone look ugly. You'd expect something better from so-called artists...

Re:College of "arts"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635711)

I guess the expression is "avant-garde".

ovo -hoot

Re:College of "arts"? (1)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | about a year and a half ago | (#43637189)

Those masks would make anyone look ugly. You'd expect something better from so-called artists...

Are you expecting something more in the Slipknot, Mudvayne or KISS camp?

Re:College of "arts"? (1)

Kkloe (2751395) | about a year and a half ago | (#43639097)

They look just right as an artist would do a concept for something, it seems your ass is stuck in viewing art as a painting of landscapes.

Re: College of "arts"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43643527)

At least you wouldn't look like either Hannibal or Max Headroom...

Re: College of "arts"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43645271)

Arts, engineering, tech; a great place. I was a student there.

Re:I'll stick with... (1, Insightful)

Revek (133289) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635769)

You mean your gonna take a web server offline for five minutes?

Why masks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635527)

Seems unnecessarily bulky. Shock value?

Re:Why masks? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635591)

Because that's how it would be done in comic books.

Re:Why masks? (1)

Bahamut_Omega (811064) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636141)

Illusion is the ultimate weapon.
Who said we had to limit things to comics with the masquerade? A few movies and books also contained masks that were about as potent as any gun. Probably add a few cartoons as well.

Re:Why masks? (1, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636149)

Cause everyone hates the glasses, have you seen all the people on here threatening to beat up anyone they see in Google Glass?

Re:Why masks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43636365)

I know Slashdot is the home of spineless losers who were obedient to bullies all their life, but luckily, most of us aren't like this.

Let one of those "people" (more like cattle-assholes) try that on me, and I'll cut his throat and piss in his face. Let's see if he still tries to bully people after that...

Re:Why masks? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636379)

Now all we have to do is to spread a rumor that the Google Glass capabilities will be built into baseball caps, enabled when worn backwards.

Re:Why masks? (1, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43637093)

And the rear camera is built into underwear, so if the pants are so low as to show the underwear, they need the raging geeks to attack en masse.

Unfortunate name (4, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635543)

With Eidos being the name, users will expect interminably long cut scenes in-between short spurts of actually being able to use the product.

Re:Unfortunate name (2, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635961)

With Eidos being the name, users will expect interminably long cut scenes in-between short spurts of actually being able to use the product.

Wait, you nick-named yours Eidos?

Re:Unfortunate name (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43636499)

You didn't even read TFS, did you...

Re: Unfortunate name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43637995)

+1 funny.. Lmfao

Re: Unfortunate name (1)

mordjah (1088481) | about a year and a half ago | (#43637999)

+1 funny.. Lmfao

So glasses+hearing aides (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635551)

We already have glasses and hearing aides that don't make you look like a complete dork.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635725)

On the other hand, it does look less dorky than google glass

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

fiziko (97143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635733)

Hearing aides amplify all noises in the area. This is supposed to be selective, amplifying the selected conversation and damping out the rest. That's the new part, but to make that effective, you need to replace the current sensory input with the input from these.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635827)

It also can't work well due to the ongoing gain control problems with speech amplification. Digitally managed gain control has been an amazing cluster !@#$ and a complete waste of processing power. You can't twitch the gain up and down to maximize distant speech without smearing "plosive" sounds, and you can't do it well with the limited digital sampling rates available in most low power A-D conversion systems.

Of course, there is a solution to this. Simply amplify the analog signal and clip it when it's too loud. Keep the digital systems out of it, their 1-bit minimum signals throw out low level signals that matter for low frequency sounds. This approach was documented by Robert Licklider in the early 1960's. But it's not amenable to digital processing because A-D conversion throws out all the low level signals and the zero-crossing analog data that contains the actual information. And it's got prior art, over 50 years old, so there are no patents available. So instead we get these sucky, smeared A-D based overprocessed gain systems that have already thrown out most of the important information.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43637347)

The problem involves interference. But there are ways around it. Have multiple microphones different distances apart and have them all process the sounds at different locations to figure out what the sound coming from each direction would be. If a right microphone senses a sound that approaches the left microphone a nanosecond after then clearly that sound originated from the right side. If you want to tune into the right side then have whatever is coming from the left side (whatever arrives at the left microphone first) canceled out or subtracted from what is arriving at the right side to get the correct sound on the right side.

You can do directional sound focusing by simply having microphones all around the location you want focused to process the sound coming towards the microphone positioned closest to the sound source and then have those other ambient sounds canceled out based on relative arrival times and positions which will enable you to calculate only the sound coming from the desired direction.

Of course this is an oversimplification and the true algorithms needed would need to be more sophisticated but this is just a general idea of what needs to be done.

This idea is deemed obvious and non patentable.

The problem with the human brain (and it's not really your senses, it's your brain) is that if two sequential events occur very closely together your brain will overlap them into one event. I think it's like 1/4 a second. So your brain is unable to process what information is coming from the right side based on differences in arrival time from your left ear to your right. The limitation really lies in your brain. Your ears can tell you where a sound is coming from based on relative loudness (point your right ear in a direction and if the sound in your right ear is louder than the sound in your left ear the sound is coming from your right side) but not based on arrival time.

If you see a door slam and you hear it slam even though the sound arrived slightly delayed from the visual effect your brain will automatically connect them into one event. But if the car is very far away, past the connection threshold, your brain will then be able to separate the sight of the door closing with the sound.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year and a half ago | (#43641763)

The human auditory system can absolutely use timing difference to determine the location of sound. We are sensitive to interaural time differences as small as 10 microseconds [nih.gov] . If you don't have access to that article, just search anywhere for "ITD JND" (stands for interural time difference just-noticeable-difference"

Your first paragraph appears to describe beamforming [wikipedia.org] , methods of which have numerous patents.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43642331)

"methods of which have numerous patents."

Which is probably what has been setting this obvious technology back, and I'm no expert in the field (and I haven't read about this before, I came up with it myself based on a basic understanding of physics). It's very unfortunate to see patents hold back technology so much.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year and a half ago | (#43643251)

Yeah, I don't know the patent landscape too intimately well (IANAL), but it woudln't surprise me if several annoying patents on obvious uses of beamforming were holding back some creative minds from commercializing cool things.

There are other approaches to focusing on sounds from specific directions and sounds with specific features. Looking at how the human auditory system does it [wikipedia.org] is (broadly) my current line of research. With the standard multi-mic approaches, you need at least as many mics as independent sources to successfully separate them, but we as humans do a lot better than that with only two acoustic inputs.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year and a half ago | (#43641811)

Many hearing aids have directional mics. They're not always considered useful, because if you fix the directionality people miss sounds from other locations that they occasionally care about, and attempts at adaptive algorithms usually suck. Progress is being made, though. Some researchers are even trying to track the wearer's eye movements, or even use brain imaging (like EEG) to detect what location a user is trying to attend to.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (3, Insightful)

ninjacheeseburger (1330559) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635807)

We already have glasses and hearing aides that don't make you look like a complete dork.

If you watch the video in the article you'll see that these devices are much more sophisticated than normal glasses and hearing aids.

The sight mask appears to allow you to see the trail of motion (allowing a football manager to see where his players have moved from) and the hearing mask allow you to focus on a specific sound (allow a child with ADHD to focus on useful sounds). Although these designs do look odd they are probably not the final designs and aren't supposed to worn all the time.

 

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

Grisstle (2798631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635929)

Hearing aids can't help people with a central auditory processing disorder, the first thing I thought when I read this article was this might actually be a viable solution for CAPD. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_processing_disorder [wikipedia.org]

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (2)

antdude (79039) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636487)

Uh, my eye glasses and analog bone conduction hearing aid make me look like a complete dork (born as a dork too). :P

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (3, Informative)

Technician (215283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636881)

I was dissapointed in the audio specs. A mic and a DSP/Noise filter. I was hoping for a phased array of microphones that could be focusted on a single sound source to isolate a single speaker in a crowd.

Somewhat like they use in pro sports but on a smaller scale.

http://broadcastengineering.com/audio/new-microphone-audioscope-1022 [broadcastengineering.com]
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19541-audio-zoom-picks-out-lone-voice-in-the-crowd.html [newscientist.com]

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43637535)

It's patented, according to your link, which will set this obvious idea years back depending on the extent that the patent is enforced. Technically, all you need are three microphones and, like with GPS, you can 'triangulate' or track which sounds are coming from where (horizontally). Four microphones can track any sound in any direction from any dimension, technically. Ideally three microphones as distant as possible and a fourth up overhead can isolate any sound in the room with the right processing and even sounds originating far away from within the pyramid the microphones are located in. Realistically, like with GPS, more microphones are needed partly because a single microphone will have trouble interpreting even a not so loud (normal talking voice) isolated sound far away in ideal conditions even with no ambient sound or obstacles between them and no surrounding walls to cause echo interferences (well, it can also depend on the microphone quality and other factors. Like how the ear works, you might be able to focus/channel the sound to improve quality but lets not get too technical here). I already mentioned this idea earlier on this post and have thought of it a long time ago based on what has been known about sound and light long before I was born but, unfortunately, someone has a patent on this now and it will set the technology back another twenty years which is way way way too long (especially given the current rate of technological advancement).

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43637691)

In order for this to work the devices have to be in sync. There are many ways to do this. One: Atomic clock (the time gets broadcasted). Two, you can use an acoustic or radiated 'ping' like algorithm to judge distance and maybe each microphone 'unit' can have four microphones or antennas to judge direction.

Re:So glasses+hearing aides (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43640887)

We already have Noopept.

PART (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635563)

Why? Because I've got to!

Prior Art (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635569)

Re:Prior Art (1)

EdZ (755139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636645)

I'd have gone for the more relevant MASK [youtube.com] .

Full 360 vision around horizontal plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635621)

If they could create that and "compact" the view in a gradient towards the left and right sides of the eye the further it gets towards 180 on each side, it could be insanely useful for a lot of people, military especially.
Vertical to the top of your head would be nice too. So you have a view of everything around you that would matter.
So this is what the left eye would look like, for example. [minus.com]
More or less something like that, the main area isn't that warped, but towards the outsides of the eye, you get a compressed view of behind your head.

The sound thing could be fantastic in crowded places, bars, clubs and similar especially.
Or imagine it on a teachers head so they could have an amplified but still decibel-limited soundscape of the room, so even tiny whispers could sound loud as normal speech. Lectures as well, conferences, so many places it could be useful.

I am sure it would (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635629)

I am sure it would give you those abilities, but probably so would this mask [olx.com.ph] and this one wouldn't even look as weird if you wear it outside. (ok, technically it wouldn't give you any super powers, but it could hide 2 directed microphones and a camera with a nice zoom.

The Mask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635639)

Wasn't there a Jim Carrey movie about that? ;-D

Low tech variant (4, Funny)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635641)

Eidos Vision improves vision allowing wearer to see 'time trails' similar to a timelapse photography."

Oh joy. Tech that mimics the effects of magic mushrooms......

That thingy at the dentist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635655)

That only makes you THINK you are flying....

Side Effect: It turns you into Jim Carrey (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635775)

Seriously

The real question is... (0)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43635801)

Does it come in a Guy Fawkes?

Jim Carrey (3, Funny)

alienzed (732782) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636067)

and here I was hoping for some Jim Carrey movie idea...

Re:Jim Carrey (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636131)

and here I was hoping for some Jim Carrey movie idea...

S-s-s-s-s-s-MOKIN'!!

Political Use (1, Funny)

corychristison (951993) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636079)

I wonder if they could adapt the technology to filter out lobbyists whispering in the politicians ears.

Re:Political Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43647611)

Ha ha.The sound of the money filling the campaign coffers have already the opposite effect.
Which one do you think will win ?

it's true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43636273)

...but it's not perfected yet. It make you look like George W. with that stupid smirk.

Pathfinder (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636331)

It's like they wanted to take all the things from Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder series and combine it, or something.

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43636367)

I'm the first to think, this first step will help geriatrics like ... Darth Vader take-over the world!

The leading question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43636463)

Does it make my face go green, and want to do atomic wedges on people?

VIsual and Auditory effects (0)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636547)

Based on the demo, this appears to be a digital way to experience taking hallucinogenic mushrooms. Timelapse trails behind movement? Sharp sound focus? Are we creating an electronic ability to simulate pharmacological effects?

ITS A FRIGGIN DIRECTIONAL MIC AND HEADPHONES (1)

switchfeet (982197) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636699)

what the hell is the big deal! Its a friggin directional mic and headphones, this is what we use on film sets ALL the time

Useful for autism? (1)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43636833)

I'm no expert, so correct me if I'm wrong: Isn't autism essentially a constant, overwhelming sensory overload? This seems like it could help.

Re:Useful for autism? (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | about a year and a half ago | (#43637197)

I was thinking the reverse -- you could program it to give a normal user an experience similar to one an autistic person experiences by default. This might help them understand, and possibly even accommodate, the sufferers.

Re:Useful for autism? (1)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43637825)

I was thinking that with the noise cancellation features, an autistic person could cancel out other stimulus to focus on a conversation with one person at a time.

Re:Useful for autism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43640265)

More a vulnerability to sensory overload as a component for it. Still potentially useful since I know I have wanted the ability to turn down hearing volume for a while. I'd refer to it as lacking or having defective sensory filters which can be both a blessing and a curse. The reason for avoiding eye contact? Also a source of overload. This is not a complete solution clearly but it could certainly help.

Hmm... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43637395)

I only want such a mask if I also have the ability to summon hordes of flesh eating rats.

Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun (0)

dlb (17444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43639505)

Will they have a model that doesn't make you look like white Kryten?

Can it do smell, taste and touch, too? (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year and a half ago | (#43642709)

If it can't, then Rachel on Alphas [wikipedia.org] still has it beat!

Man that's a good show, can't wait for season three! Oh, wait... [syfy.com]

Donnie Darko (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | about a year and a half ago | (#43642953)

"Time Trails" sounds like the Abyss-like CGI in Donnie Darko.

Cosplay anyone? (1)

Dabido (802599) | about a year and a half ago | (#43644077)

Useful for looking like Megatron or Fearless Fly ... or combine the two and be Fearless Tron or Mega Fly.

It's a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43649499)

M.A.S.K.!!!!

MASK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43667209)

Obligatory retro fun for this:
http://youtu.be/M0BzBFWt8V8

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