Wearable Magic

Creativity and Cognitive Augmentation

Programmable Magic

Connecting virtual, vivo, and veee don’t know yet

The Ultimate Magic

To infinity, diversity, and beyond!

Introduction

For me, magic is the shared moment of curiosity where the magician designs an amusing experience that transcends the audience’s expectation and helps them see beyond mundane reality. I believe that the culture of magical sharing is the culture of give and take, where there is an exchange of inspiration and permission to push the boundaries. Once people are inspired to think beyond what they know and have the personal permission to act upon it, they are equipped to be the change agent for society; pursuing things that are even more magical, challenging the status quo, and tackling difficulties in front of them. Inspiration grows aspiration. Magic incites magic. Therefore, I see my role in designing magical technology as the way to build a better society, a more resilient world.

In my TEDx ASU talk titled “Prototyping The Impossible,” I shared my skills of prototyping across computable and uncomputable mediums to create a smooth transition between mind and matter, which allows me to execute projects quickly. Another reason I can handle and lead many exciting projects is due to the fact that I have a great support team and many past collaborators. I have cofounded the Futuristic Research in Enigmatic and Aesthetics Knowledge ( FREAK Lab ) with a network of affiliated researchers from around the world that push the frontier of research in wearable technology, biodigital, machine learning, and space exploration.

As for the future of magic, I believe in the next generation of technology that taps into the deeper relationship between cognition and creativity, people and programmability that will enrich our experience in this world and beyond. Here I present  three areas of research interest: wearable magic, programmable magic, and the ultimate magic–space, which I would like to pursue at MIT Media Lab. These three areas represent three unique labs  I admire and appreciate their visions.

Wearable Magic: Creativity and Cognitive Augmentation

Humans are becoming cyborgs, whether they recognize it or not, as mobile technology is becoming our sixth sense. However, today’s trend in developing such technology mostly focuses on making the stand-alone technology smarter and be more intelligent without looking at the way that human-technology can collaborate to improve the quality of life. Therefore, it is important to shift the research paradigm from AI (Artificial Intelligence) to IA (Intelligence Agent = human + technology) and thinking beyond the process of increasing human intelligence to improving human’s heuristic cognition.

I believed that the everyday objects combined with technology can create the magical moment that allow people to be mindful of their body.  In my development of a 3D mind controlled food printer, I coined the term “cognitive food,” which represents the kind of food that is created in relation to the cognitive state of the person. This project used the electroencephalography signals from the wearable EEG device to classify emotion of the person based on the level of valence and arousal. These variables are then sent over to the food printer to create playful edible responses that reflect and augment the state of mind of the person. For example, printing an iced cookie in the shape of a blossoming flower when the person in a joyful mood  to having food in the shape of  words that speak a message in response to the person’s emotion. This project is beneficial for people with eating disorders and loss of appetite, as the technology can personalize the design, nutrients, and amount of food based on the mental state. It can also create an interesting interplay between humans and machines during the responsive cooking experience by integrating the notion of cognitive food fabrication as one method in the spectrum of the cooking process.

Beyond wearing an EEG device, I believe that we can implement wearable technology in different parts of the body that improve human’s heuristic cognition as professor Edwin Hutchins argues in his famous book Cognition in the Wild, that human cognition is extended beyond the body to the surrounding natural habitat. I see two significant areas of cognitive augmentation I would like to continue study at the media lab; using technology to help human beings be more creative (open-minded to infinite possibilities) and attentive (singularly focused) .

 

To augment creativity in people, I am inspired by the quote by George Bernard Shaw, “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” One of the ideas I would like to explore is on how we might inspire creativity in people by encouraging them to think why not?, and I think augmented reality (AR) is a great tool for that. Instead of augmenting objects with information, why not experiment with augmenting the object with semantically unrelated questions by creating a magical AR device that can help generate ideas. For example, imagine walking in the park and seeing an apple while wearing a magical AR device. The device would recognize the apple, search its property on the ConceptNet, and potentially pick up one feature in its subset such as “environmentally friendly.” The device will then look for the concept that is totally on the opposite side of the apple, and potentially pick up the object “car.” The device will then say something such as, “Good day Pat, what if we can make a car out of an apple? You know an apple is environmental friendly!” It might seem silly, but this process will allow many people to have a creative agent whispering to them creative ideas that they might take on. It is about opening yourself up to thinking differently. By practicing this, people can learn to start thinking innovatively and would converge their creativity with augmented creativity.

Wearable Magic: Creativity and Cognitive Augmentation

Humans are becoming cyborgs, whether they recognize it or not, as mobile technology is becoming our sixth sense. However, today’s trend in developing such technology mostly focuses on making the stand-alone technology smarter and be more intelligent without looking at the way that human-technology can collaborate to improve the quality of life. Therefore, it is important to shift the research paradigm from AI (Artificial Intelligence) to IA (Intelligence Agent = human + technology) and thinking beyond the process of increasing human intelligence to improving human’s heuristic cognition.

I believed that the everyday objects combined with technology can create the magical moment that allow people to be mindful of their body.  In my development of a 3D mind controlled food printer, I coined the term “cognitive food,” which represents the kind of food that is created in relation to the cognitive state of the person. This project used the electroencephalography signals from the wearable EEG device to classify emotion of the person based on the level of valence and arousal. These variables are then sent over to the food printer to create playful edible responses that reflect and augment the state of mind of the person. For example, printing an iced cookie in the shape of a blossoming flower when the person in a joyful mood  to having food in the shape of  words that speak a message in response to the person’s emotion. This project is beneficial for people with eating disorders and loss of appetite, as the technology can personalize the design, nutrients, and amount of food based on the mental state. It can also create an interesting interplay between humans and machines during the responsive cooking experience by integrating the notion of cognitive food fabrication as one method in the spectrum of the cooking process.

Beyond wearing an EEG device, I believe that we can implement wearable technology in different parts of the body that improve human’s heuristic cognition as professor Edwin Hutchins argues in his famous book Cognition in the Wild, that human cognition is extended beyond the body to the surrounding natural habitat. I see two significant areas of cognitive augmentation I would like to continue study at the media lab; using technology to help human beings be more creative (open-minded to infinite possibilities) and attentive (singularly focused) .

 

To augment creativity in people, I am inspired by the quote by George Bernard Shaw, “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” One of the ideas I would like to explore is on how we might inspire creativity in people by encouraging them to think why not?, and I think augmented reality (AR) is a great tool for that. Instead of augmenting objects with information, why not experiment with augmenting the object with semantically unrelated questions by creating a magical AR device that can help generate ideas. For example, imagine walking in the park and seeing an apple while wearing a magical AR device. The device would recognize the apple, search its property on the ConceptNet, and potentially pick up one feature in its subset such as “environmentally friendly.” The device will then look for the concept that is totally on the opposite side of the apple, and potentially pick up the object “car.” The device will then say something such as, “Good day Pat, what if we can make a car out of an apple? You know an apple is environmental friendly!” It might seem silly, but this process will allow many people to have a creative agent whispering to them creative ideas that they might take on. It is about opening yourself up to thinking differently. By practicing this, people can learn to start thinking innovatively and would converge their creativity with augmented creativity.