2023 Augmentation Residency
The Augmentation Residency provides a platform for creative technologists to come together and intensively design the next impactful technologies in the fields of wearable computing, XR, BCI, and AI. With mentorship from renowned experts provided to a driven team of creative technologists, the residency outputs concrete technology and advanced methodologies. We strive to push the frontiers of augmentation technology and its impact on humanity through self-experimentation and collaboration.
The Augmentation Residency is a 10 week long, fully immersive, and living-expenses-paid* residency program in which 8 creative technologists live and work together to build augmentation technologies.
We will integrate product development, research, self-experimentation, and creative storytelling to produce (1) augmentation technologies, (2) generalizable insights on human-technology system dynamics, and (3) a documentary capturing the entire experience and the stories that arise along the way.
During the first phase of the Residency, the team will spend 6 weeks intensively building within a structured lab setting in collaboration with professors and other researchers during the day and self-experimenting in everyday life by night. During the second phase of the residency, the team will take the technology they develop to stress test it in an unfamiliar environment for 2 weeks, as well as share their work with other laboratories, organizations, and conferences.
Augmentation Technologies - wearable tech XR/BCI/AI systems that augment the user’s daily experiences.
Patents - thoroughly describe the novelty and technical detail of the systems we create.
Research papers - these present generalizable insights on human-technology system dynamics, derived from a combination of experiments on ourselves and blinded subjects.
Potential commercialization - bringing the technologies we build to market.
Documentary, capturing the overall experience and interesting stories that arise during our journey.
Theoretical framework for non-invasive self-augmentation technology development, synthesizing the methods we explore for self-experimentation into a central formalized framework informing future research in augmentation technology.
Potential Project Ideas
The following are proposed ideas that might be interesting to pursue during the residency.
Experience Builder - Imagine a world where you have complete control over your experiences. The Experience Designer is a wearable tech system that allows users to control their daily experiences across all levels of abstraction — from setting high-level goals, such as focusing, to adjusting low-level parameters, such as the degree of blur in their vision — through visual, audio, and haptic augmentations delivered via AR glasses and haptic wearables. Ultimately, this kind of experience building technology could redefine the way everyone is able to experience and control their own lives.
Collective Being - The Collective Being project explores how people can experience life and operate as multi-agent beings, where each person is able to see, hear, and feel the stimuli in their own world and from their entity using immersive AR/VR and haptic technologies. We are investigating the integration of individual perceptions of the physical world, emotions, stress levels, thoughts, and the dynamics of collective decision-making. Ultimately, this kind of collective being technology could redefine the way we as humans connect, communicate, and collaborate with each other.
Goal Reacher - Breaking bad habits and reaching goals is essential and universal for personal growth and success. Studies show over 80% of new years resolutions fail—with most people losing resolve and motivation just weeks later. The Goal Reacher uses AI, AR/VR, haptics, and computer vision to create an automated life coach. Using an AR headset, the AI monitors user actions and environment, assessing goal progress, such as work duration or habit avoidance, providing feedback, encouragement, advice, or statistics through a language model. Ultimately, this kind of goal reaching technology could enable everyone to grow into their ideal selves.
(June 18 - August 27, 2023)
Before Residency - Conduct literature review, flesh out project roadmap, secure materials. Present project proposals to expert mentors, iterate design based on feedback.
Week 1 - Design preliminary prototypes.
Week 2 - Build preliminary prototypes for initial evaluation & iteration.
Weeks 3-7 - Build & self-experiment with prototypes of technologies.
Week 8-9 - Stress test the technologies in an unfamiliar environment. Develop documentary.
Week 10 - Showcase technologies to collaborators & sponsors through a Final Demo Day.
Post-Residency - Continue living as augmented humans, write papers & patents on end products, publish documentary & book. Continue with potential commercialization.
We are Harvard students developing human augmentation technology to understand & improve the human condition. Our work explores cognitive augmentation, physical augmentation, & immersive worlds through research, engineering, and creative practices. Some examples of our past work include:
Physical augmentation: working on an eye-gaze controlled supernumerary limb, and haptic gloves to reinvent human-device interactions, also a punch-activated flamethrower
Collectively, we co-founded & lead HAR/VRD (XR developers group) and Conflux (art tech collective) at Harvard. The team has worked in research and development across AR/VR, haptics, BCI, data science, generative AI, HCI, nanotechnology, optics, and quantum physics, at MIT Media Lab, Harvard SEAS, Harvard Berkman Klein Center, CERN, Center for Quantum Networks, and more.
We are open to anyone interested in building augmentation technologies (wearable computing, AR/VR, AI/ML, BCIs, etc.). In particular, we are looking to build a deeply committed team of experienced builders and storytellers. While concrete skills and past experiences are important, we most importantly look for extraordinary ambition, and vision alignment.
We have raised 45k in funding to support the housing, food, & materials costs for this program. If you're interested in further supporting us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This residency is hosted in collaboration with Harvard AR/VR Developers.
*Flights may not be fully covered, subject to price, availability and need.