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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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From sensory substitution to perceptual supplementation

From sensory substitution to perceptual supplementation

(p.552) Chapter 58 From sensory substitution to perceptual supplementation
Living machines

Charles Lenay

Matthieu Tixier

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the principle of sensory substitution and presents the main systems which currently exist, starting with the pioneering work of Paul Bach-y-Rita. Some research in this domain pursues the ideal of restoring an exact imitation of normal perceptual systems, but whenever there is a technical mediation, variations become possible and so there will always be possible novelties or augmentations. We highlight that these devices also open up the possibility of experimental studies of active perception within a minimalist framework, which lead to the conclusion that rather than “sensory substitution” one should more properly speak of “perceptual supplementation”. When we make prosthetic devices to assist persons with sensory disabilities, this creates possibilities of new forms of sensorimotor dynamics which open up new perceptual domains and augment the subjects’ capabilities. This raises new questions about the conditions of individual appropriation and social adoption of these innovations.

Keywords:   sensory substitution, augmentation, perception, minimalism, perceptual supplementation, prosthetic devices, sensory disabilities, sensorimotor dynamics, appropriation

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