The Innovation Potential of Sensory Augmentation for Public Space

Michel van Dartel, Alwin de Rooij

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperOther research output


Potential for the improvement of public space through technology is often sought in telephone applications. However, public space exists by grace of physical interaction between people and their environment, whereas smartphones often get in the way of such interaction. In contrast, Sensory Augmentation takes physical interaction as a starting point for applications. In this paper, we therefore explore the innovation potential of Sensory Augmentation for the improvement of public space. This was done by organizing brainstorm sessions aimed to yield design concepts for the application of sensory augmentation in public space. These brainstorms brought together experts in Sensory Augmentation with various stakeholders and resulted in 34 unique design concepts that addressed social interaction, play, health, navigation, and art, in public space. These concepts, for example, included a tool for the management of private space using a personal distance-to-vibration mapping, a sense for physiological changes that are indicative of hunger, and a proposal to improve the safety of ‘smartphone Zombies’. On the basis of our analysis of the 34 concepts, we conclude that Sensory Augmentation holds a broad potential to improve public space. As such, our research provides a first look into this innovation potential and may guide further research on it.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
EventInternational Symposium on Electronic Art - Gwangju, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 22 Jun 201928 Jun 2019
Conference number: 25


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Electronic Art
Abbreviated titleISEA
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Internet address


  • sensory augmentation
  • Innovation


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