In an ongoing photo series shot by David Vintiner with creative director Gem Fletcher, the duo have sought out the people who are attempting to “enhance, extend and refine human evolution” with their innovative machines. Depicted in Transhuman are members of an international movement, including cyborgs, academics, artists, philosophers, bedroom hackers, technologists and medical professionals, aiming to further humanity’s capabilities – physically and psychologically – beyond the limitations of nature.
“The movement or subject itself is in a period of intense flux,” says Gem. “It’s both in its infancy but also in a stage of rapid evolution due to the accessibility of technology and growing curiosity around the opportunity of augmenting the body and mind. It’s a vision of the world to come.”
“What makes the subject so fascinating is the depth and breadth of people involved,” she continues. “The applications range from solving mental health issues and creating original art to evolving our digital experience and extending human life. The approaches all look to push beyond human existence as it is given and merge with machines to enhance our senses and neural capabilities.”
Below, Gem takes us through a few of the subjects and their devices, but you can also read more on the creatives’ websites.
The Eyesect by The Constitute is a wearable installation that reflects an out-of-bodiment. Defying the current limitations of human sight (binocular and stereoscopic), it allows the user 360-degree vision in order to experience the environment from a new point of view. Two handheld cameras capture the surroundings and stream the image data straight to the single eyes. The spatial perception is then constructed inside the human sensory system.
James Young, an amputee, created a hi-tech prosthetic arm inspired by computer game Metal Gear Solid. The limb, part art project, part engineering marvel transformed his life after his accident, rather than be viewed with pity, he was greeted with curiosity. James is now working on the second phase of his arm.
NeuroRex by Houston University is a non-invasive brain-machine interface which controls the movements of a walking powered exoskeleton created to restore or rehabilitate walking capabilities of individuals with paralysis after stroke or spinal cord injuries. The system reads the brain activity of the user and extracts information about motor intent (e.g turn left, walk, stop, sit, stand) and uses that information to control the powered lower limb exoskeleton.
The echo-location headphones allow the user to experience space through parametric sound similar to the way bats, whales and dolphins locate and identify objects for navigation and hunting. This wearable allows humans to transcend our sense barrier and experience the world in a unique physiological way.
Skinterface by The F_T_R is our interface to the physical world. Sound and vision allow you to observe and understand, but touch allows you to interact. The primary goal of Skinterface is to convert virtual interaction into physical feeling allowing a user to truly interact in a digital space. Based around a skinsuit which allows for two-way physical interactions with simulated environments and objects creating a fully immersive experience.
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