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Beyond VR & AR: Internal Reality Tech and Neuro-Bio Tech

Updated: May 15, 2020

Extended Reality (XR) is an umbrella term to encompass various ways in which technology is used to augment or transport our minds, including VR, AR, and MR. Virtual Reality (VR) typically involves a headset that can transport our mind into a computer- or video-generated environment. It can be so immersive that we temporarily lose track of our actual surroundings in objective space.

Augmented Reality (AR) overlays digital images over our vision, through projection, the video screen of smart devices, or a smart eyeglasses. Mixed Reality (MR) is an advanced type of AR whereby artificial intelligence is used to recognize aspects of the physical environment in view so that digital objects can react to them.

Nelson Abreu has coined the expressions Consciousness Reality (CR) or Internal Reality (IR) as yet another aspect of extended reality. Simply put, IR tech is meant to facilitate transformative, creative mental states. Rather than relying exclusively on computer-generated graphics, IR employs tech to stimulate our own minds to produce or shape neural "media" (visual, auditory, tactile and other experiences) from within. This type of technology uses the mind as a source of entertainment, relaxation, creative enhancement, well-being. Since most of this technology affects body and mind, Manori Sumanasinghe has coined the expression neuro-bio tech to refer to this class of technologies. They can also be viewed within the larger context of so-called transformative technologies ("trans tech").

Tech can be used to either stimulate or modulate this "internal data," or our internal information can be used to affect our experience in some way. At its height, it holds the potential to facilitate important cognitive shifts and meaningful inspiration to make the world a better place. There may also be an overlap with other types of XR tech, such as when biological signals are used to interface with and affect technology or when VR is used to facilitate transformative states from within.

Neuma Being recently developed a digital art experience entitled Synaptic Projections, which crossed the boundaries between IR and AR. Participants are able to affect a digital artwork projected into the physical space with their mental activity. Specifically, the artwork responds to brainwave activity as measured by a Muse headband. The experience was debuted in Los Angeles' Chinatown on December 28, 2019 and a second edition will be presented on February 1, 2020.

The interactive art piece turned out to be a playful experience for individuals, who sought different ways to increase the predominance of measured gamma waves and then to hold them at a relatively high level as long as possible. Spontaneously, it became a game that involved others as they sought to either encourage, advise or even playfully distract the person wearing the EEG sensing headband. Synaptic Projections was also an educational experience as it peaked the curiosity of participants and spectators regarding neuroscience, mindfulness, and technology.

A clearer example of IR developed by Neuma Being is the Cymatix Recliner, which uses a proprietary system to control sound and vibration in specific patterns aimed to facilitate creative altered states and profound relaxation. In heightened or transformative mental states, especially with our eyes closed, our mental field can be entertained by images, sounds, and even sensations of movement projected into our awareness from within. Such creative and restful states can inspire and energize creative professionals. Finally, Neuma Being is also exploring how VR experiences can facilitate extraordinary and mindful states, which would overlap VR and IR.

Arguably, humans developed early technologies and techniques like the use of certain types of music to achieve special states of mind. The human body has built in "technology" to achieve mindful and altered states like lucid dreams, which can be used to simulate various scenarios and aide in problem solving and development of certain skills. Mindfulness practices themselves can be viewed as a type of IR that can help reach states of mind that can assist with reduction of stress, pain, and anxiety. At Neuma Being, we believe that design and technology can act as an aide - rather than a crutch or substitute - to our own innate abilities. IR tech can make transformative states more easily accessible to the masses and even support more experienced individuals through challenging moments.



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