Member Post: Disaster Superheroes–Wearable Technology and Sensory Enhancements

The following is a member post written by Dennis Draeger and originally posted on the disaster preparedness website, Prepare with Foresight. It is a trend alert that playfully looks at how some emerging technologies might be used during disasters. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of the APF or its members.

Often survivalists focus on saving themselves for a variety of reasons. No one can afford to buy enough food to feed a whole community, and no one can afford to buy a shelter that will fit the whole community. Worse yet, no one can force their community to prepare for disasters.

However, there are a number of ways that preppers can become superheroes for their communities in case of disasters. Technology is driving much of this opportunity, and wearables is one of the dominant technology types making this practical. Using wearables, we can augment our senses to enable us to thrive in disasters. Whether you are searching for survivors or leading them to safety, you are going to want these devices to help you navigate safely.

The Dentist Chair

First, let’s cover a bit of explanation and history about sensory substitution. Sensory substitution is substituting one sense for another. It is about tricking one of your senses to communicate to your brain in a similar way to another sense. For example, Marvel’s Daredevil sees with his ears because of his sonar sense.

Paul Bach-y-Rita conducted experiments to help people with blindness to see objects. He sat them in a dentist chair equipped with a machine that poked them at multiple points on their lower back. Bach-y-Rita connected a video camera to the machine. The machine communicated the shape of an object to the person in the dentist chair. After training and time to acclimate to the technology, the participants were able to effectively “see” the objects displayed to the camera.

Bach-y-Rita started this back in the 1960s. He was the first to artificially augment senses to do unconventional things. Sensory substitution is still a novel idea. However, wearable technology is making it practical.

Spidey Senses

One of the most obvious examples of wearables augmenting your senses for disaster situations is the SpiderSense suit. To read the rest of the article, please visit the website that originally published it.

Prepare with Foresight has the whole 1200-word article.