Beyond the senses

It was a beautiful winter day the other day, and I looked at my shadow projected on a wall. I could see the heat escaping through my jacket from my shoulders, and through my hat. It looked like I was on fire!

This isn’t very different to how building engineers look for flaws and cracks in constructions. They use a wide range of technological instruments to take images of efficiency levels. Escaping energy is one criteria by which we judge wether a building is performing or not, and thus how “good.”

If we want to create better living spaces, technology like this is key. The more energy efficient we become, the better. But let’s take this idea of images one step further. Many of the things we measure, can be done more effectively with sensors, but it’s astonishing how many cool features even ordinary digital cameras have. It’s only a matter of time before thermal cameras are standard on our mobile devices. I’m interested in the possibilities if we can create meaningful hardware and software that analyze images.

Could we create a camera that is able to detect if there is a negative vibe or aura somewhere? Could a camera be developed that senses the mood and gives us quantitive data that we can monitor? I’m imagining a satellite that could monitor the mood of the world, similar to a weather map. Could such images be used to prevent hostilities, or for mapping emotional hotspots?

Some of this is already being done through analyzing data from social media sources. The mood of a nation can be measured after a presidential speech, based on how the software interprets your status updates. If we can develop imagery that depicts whats going on beneath the skin, it could be used to construct better living spaces. Spaces where people are satisfied, happy, and neutral. Right now we have to do this manually and it is dependent on personal interpretations.

Cameras are designed to help you get better photographs. Change the lens and you could potentially have a camera that helps you make sense of the qualitative and emotive conditions of that area.

As for that beautiful winter day, I got some really nice pictures in the wild!