Emplant

Abstract

Imagine being able to communicate emotions without words. Words can’t express the nature of our feelings. Words aren’t enough. How can we experience our emotional world in a more visceral way? How can we blur the boundaries of technology and the human body to allow for a deeper human connection?

Emplant is a design fiction that proposes the creation of a new sense, using embodied technology, to allow humans to have a different experience of each other’s emotions. This project can be seen as a hybrid, with one foot on the study of long distance relationships from a human centered design perspective, and another one in the field of critical design, using its inherent power to create discussion and bring attention to how new technologies could affect our definition of humanity.

Emplant is meant to ask questions rather than find answers. It is meant for everyone who is ready to think about the future of humanity and our evolution as a species.

Inspiration and Method

Humanity have always used technology to overcome its shortcomings, but now the possibility of embodying that technology to allow further advances as a species is here. Technology has advanced to a level where that human augmentation is not anymore the stuff of science fiction, but a reality. We can argue that we are in the verge of a new revolution, a new step in our evolution.

Emplant explores the idea of embodied technology for human augmentation, with the purpose of reshaping our human experience. Commonly when dealing with human augmentation, we think of “stronger”, “faster” or similar, but what if we use these new technologies to change the way we experience the world? To have a new more “human” experience?

Inspired by this idea, I follow a process with a dual strategy: The use of design ethnography techniques and in parallel, taken from a page of the Maker Manifesto, a series of experience prototypes that allow for a bigger exploration on the topic.

This strategy allowed me to define a series of design principles that guided me through ideation, and provided me with a framework to work on, and create Emplant.

Result

The result of this process is a design fiction that allows for exploration and with the aim of provoking conversations and debate over the boundaries of technology and our own humanity.

In this fiction, centered in the scenario of long distance relationships, Emplant is service: an implant that allows to sense bio signals that can be connected to emotional data that can be shared. These signals are processed and sent to the user partner where they are translated in a new vibro-tactile language, creating a new sense, and a different way of experiencing each other’s emotions.

To showcase the different scenarios of the design fiction, I made a series of videos related to the different steps of the user journey for Emplant. They can be seen by clicking here.