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Augmenting Cognition

Augmenting Cognition (PDF)

Article by M. Satyanaryanan, Editor in Chief of IEEE Pervasive Computing.

"In his futuristic essay “As We May Think,” written nearly 60 years ago, Vannevar Bush imagined the existence of a device called a “Memex” that would extend and amplify human thought. This is one of the earliest descriptions of using computing to augment human cognition.

Looking toward the future, we can envision computing technologies converging in tantalizing ways to augment cognition. For example, imagine a wearable computer with a head-up display in the form of eyeglasses and with a built-in camera for continuous face recognition. This would offer the essentials of an augmented-reality system to aid cognition. When you look at a person, his or her name could pop up, possibly with

additional cues to guide your greeting. Such “magic glasses” could transform your environment into a helpful smart environment. Imagine “water me” popping up when you glance at your thirsty houseplant, or “take me out” appearing when you look at your long-suffering dog, or “don’t forget my birthday” appearing when you say good-bye to your spouse as you leave for work!"


While the concept of "magic glasses" to support augmented reality applications in the near future is widely accepted among forward thinking people, it may not yet be understood that the only practical way to implement these as imagined is through Microvision's technology. It is conceivable that a layer of flexible, transparent organic light-emitting device material could be deposited onto a set of glasses to achieve something along the same lines. But Microvision's technology allows the images displayed to be seamlessly integrated into a user's field of view, without the distracting 'near-eye display' effect. Something you really have to see for yourself.

We're all going in the same direction.


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