A haptics project with a different goal

This is my first post, and the reason I joined this community. I want to outline the unique purpose of my project, so I will fully explain my reasoning, even if some of it is obvious in this community. (Bear with me)

When an infant is born, and the mother touches its arm, the baby is not aware yet that these signals it is receiving mean "arm." In other words, "arm" hasn't been defined yet by the baby, so as far as the infant knows, that sensation might mean a wing, or a tail, or a mountain in a hailstorm, or even a nacient black hole.
We have (thus far) usefully trained ourselves to receive only the sensations we were born with. I seek to allow for a temporary state of disbelief of this training. Rather I think we can train ourselves to mentally accept an experience that is occurring externally to self.

Imagine a crane downtime that is being used for construction. Let's say we developed a method of live recording of each motion of this machine, and sent this information to a human to "sense". Once the signal consistently distinguishes between and represents the separate motions performed by the crane (in other words, the subject who has little gadgets to do things like make her left thumb vibrate when responding to the motion of the crane turning right, and a nudge on the left shoulder when the crane turns left, etc.) So our subject watches the crane for a while and allows her brain to make these connections, eventually the mind associates so intimately these actions and physical responses, that the nudge now equally means that crane is turning left. But my theory is you won't just think it, you will literally consciously experience it.

I used that example because it is so simple, and seemingly pointless, yet so cool. The simple suggestion that a sober, coherent person may simply experience the essence of the crane, amazing. The mind really wanders when imagining the possible applications.
The ideas came to me as I struggled in meditation to be whole with more than is myself. My struggle was that I could imagine being connected to things but it was only in my imagination, it wasn't truly outside of me. But now I think we can get to that point. I want to experience a rainstorm in my hometown as a tug on my right sock, I want to feel what my spouse goes through in a day by her sharing her motions (and perhaps emotions) with me, I want to unleash the dolphin that could even wear a camera and have a 4d experience like no other, or just watch Jurassic Park and be the t-Rex.

Like I said, my loyalties are to the use in meditation and being connected to the world in a meaningful way. We have such an enormous amount of sensory neurons, and nerves, which are not being used to their full extent. I would like to experience the day my dog had. Live during the day. My empathy and love for that animal would be fascinating.
I hope I inspire some of you to work with me to make this concept a reality. I earnestly appreciate helpful feedback and constructive criticisms.
I want to know when my dog is wagging his tail, not just know it, experience it. Used wisely and creatively, I think this could be a mentally transformative experience.

The main difference between this and other ideas is that I want my senses to extend outside of myself to experience non-human (and some human) experiences that would not otherwise be my own.

What do I have so far? A couple of boxes of LittleBits teaching me electronics... That's it.
I need a way to record (have it from LittleBits, they have a whole set of different sensors), send live signals wirelessly, and a way to wirelessly receive the message so an effector can vibrate on my skin.

Thanks in advance!


  • the first part you describe seems to be what's commonly known as neuroplasticity.

    the idea of simulating the entire input/output system isn't exactly knew. but far from the current state of art. right now the best we can is simulating this with just a couples of nerves. it is quite possible to control a simple robotic hand with just that, and receive feedback. but even that takes a lot of effort,money and a bit of neurosurgery.
    you may want to read up on kevin warwick's works.
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