Internet of Senses (IoS) and Internet of Sensory Health (IoSH): A New Technology Epiphany

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Davide Antonio GamberaEmilia DuarteDina Ricco

Abstract: In the field of healthcare design, a great revolution is taking place. The use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and in particular the great success of smartwatches, fit bands, and specific wearable medical devices allowed people to self-monitor their health parameters. At the same time, physicians were allowed to track, assist, make diagnoses, and prescribe treatments, remotely. Everything is done with the collection of and analysis of high-quality data, assisted by Artificial Intelligence (AI) (Forgan; 2021; Chiapponi & Ciotti, 2015; Islam et. al, 2015). At the same time, the easier accessibility to sensory technology, the high-speed internet connection, and rate of adoption of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), which are altogether known as eXtended Reality (XR), is accelerating innovations, with the digital experiences expected to become even more immersive.According to a recent report of Sony Ericsson® the biggest trend for future technology developments until 2030, will be the evolution from IoT (Internet of things) to IoS (Internet of Senses). Nowadays, we can use XR solutions to support patients’ recovery, promote mental health, or treat chronic pain conditions, but, digital communications are still audio-visual. In the next decade, it is expected that devices, sensors, and actuators, and software would enable these experiences to become even richer, through the concomitant use of all our senses, and merging the digital and the physical reality. This type of experience is based on the Internet of Senses.This revolution will drive designers to create more immersive environments. Future experiences with the diffuse use of haptic feedback will be enriched with digital flavors/aromas, more sophisticated haptic stimulations, and immersive interfaces. Future experiences are going to involve multiple sensory modalities, opening interesting possibilities for multi-sensory and cross-sensory interactions. (Sony Ericsson, 2020)These observations are particularly interesting for the field of Synesthetic Design, («synaesthesia» from the Greek syn," together", and aisthēsis, "sensation", literarily “perceiving together”), the study of sensory perception is used to design sensory stimuli with the specific purpose of “contaminating” other different sensory modalities (senses) changing the nature of stimuli. All the sensations can be coordinated based on the systematic connections between different modalities”. (Haverkamp, 2014). How this revolution is going to affect the world of healthcare?The Internet of Senses revolution will open important horizons for designers, responsible for the sensory characterization of everyday experiences. In this paper, we are going to introduce what are the opportunities of implementing Internet of Senses technologies for healthcare. To do so, we are going to present and discuss a Case-Study (a between-subjects experience involving 42 participants) in which a synesthetic design approach has been used to reduce the sensation of pain in people (using cold-induced pain CPT). The study has been realized creating an immersive experience based on cross-sensory interactions in a sensory-controlled environment. Particular attention will be given to the methodological aspects of the study.

Keywords: synesthetic design, Healthcare design, Internet of Senses, Internet of Things

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001403

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