OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Phantom recorder: what if...

Exploring new interfaces for people with disabilities might lead to innovation in terms of interfaces for voting

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
2 5

Written by

While reading inspiration about people with missing limbs (e.g. /open/voting/inspiration/climbing-vail-mountain/

And /open/voting/inspiration/-voice-your-vote/) and in particular Jaskeerat’s inspiration about technology solution, it reminded me of the Impact exhibition I saw at the RCA in London 2 or 3 years ago. There was a design piece called the “phantom recorder” (also exhibited this summer at MOMA in the exhibition Talk to Me), which explored ways of reconnecting sensations and the mind.

When a limb is lost, the mind often develops a phantom sensation. The phantom owner is suddenly endowed with a unique and personal appendage, invisible to others and sometimes capable of extraordinary hyperabilities. As strategies for repair focus on practical solutions, they tend to overlook poetic functions of our body, but what if one could record and keep their phantom sensation, to be awoken on request?

A novel peripheral nerve interface allows regenerating axons to grow into microchannels incorporating embedded electrodes. This neural implant enables sensations to be inserted to the device, or for activity to be recorded from movements. Could we use this technology to record illusions of the mind? What if our imagination could be captured through our nerves?

The focus of the Impact exhibition where designers from the RCA worked with scientists building upon current knowledge and technology and wondering “what if…” is also in itself inspiring for this challenge.


Join the conversation:

Photo of mamta gautam

Interesting connection, i have been working with people who are differently abled and learnt about phtantom syndrome. I think it could be used if we could make the technology and interface financially viable. Cheers.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks. I was thinking of this more as an analogy rather than trying to design or implement similar technology...