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Exploring Sensory Extensions through Technology with Michel Witter at Sencity Festival

In the vibrant and multisensory atmosphere of the Sencity Festival held at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, Michel Witter captivated attendees with his insightful mini-lecture at the Science Lab. At the Science Lab of Sencity Festival, Michel discussed his innovative research aimed at enhancing shared experiences for the deaf and the hearing.

During the festival, Michel presented “What if you had an extra sense?“, an inspiring exploration of his ongoing doctoral research. The focal point of his study revolves around developing technologies, such as a vibrating belt, which are designed to augment human senses and facilitate a new form of sensory interaction. These devices are not only innovative but are crafted with inclusivity at the heart, aiming to diminish the sensory gap that often exists between deaf and hearing individuals. Michel’s work leverages tactile or other sensory feedback technology to create interfaces that can convey directional guidance, proximity, and other environmental cues through patterns of vibrations. It can also, for example, inspire artists to incorporate these technologies into artworks or museum environments. This technology holds the promise of adding a new dimension to the sensory repertoire of its users, potentially enabling those with hearing impairments to ‘feel’ their surroundings in a profound way.

The insights gained from Sencity Festival are invaluable in refining and advancing the application of sensory augmentation technologies. Caradt remains committed to supporting such innovative research that not only advances knowledge in art, design, and technology but also contributes significantly to societal well-being by enhancing the quality of life for individuals with sensory disabilities.

Co-designing sensory augmentation with both deaf and hearing people

A situated design approach towards unlocking the potential of sensory augmentation in order to bridge the sensory gap between deaf and hearing people.

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‘Investigating the potential of sensory augmentation to bridge the sensory gap between deaf and hearing.’

Michel Witter, with a foundation in computer science and digital art, integrates technology and art in education. As a tutor since 2002 at Communication & Multimedia Design program of Avans, he specializes in information design and accessibility. Currently, Michel is researching sensory augmentation for his PhD.

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Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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