1. A group of people put on blindfolds and walked around central London while a smartphone app attempted to guide them using only sounds.
2. Participants in a workshop run by Alastair Somerville in Holborn’s Dragon Hall were asked to download an iPhone app, Heare, which is used to help blind people navigate their way around cities.
3. Participants were given a pre-guided route and were meant to follow the “dings” and “clicks” to reach their destination. It didn’t go entirely smoothly.
4. Gianfranco Chicco, chief dream officer at Taiken Lab, a London-based consulting firm, told BuzzFeed he found the whole incident “confusing” and that his other senses were heightened.
5. Chicco said that he realised the importance of paying more attention after walking into a wall.
“In the beginning, I was walking without my hands out,” he said. “After I hit the first wall, I instinctively was paying more attention to what was around me and where there were steps and I was trying to imagine where I was walking.”
6. Chicco also said that the sounds on the app meant that navigating wasn’t an easy task.
I was trying first to find out first what to follow and what not to follow because I heard three different voices. And the most clear one was the dog and it didn’t sound aggressive so I was walking towards the dog.
“Some times I didn’t hear anything whereas at other times there were small ticks, and a bigger bell. It was confusing because at one point I ran into a wall and I figured at some point something wasn’t working.
7. Somerville told BuzzFeed the key lesson for participants was to “have an honest conversation about our other senses”, which appears to echo the thoughts of Chicco.
“The use of the blindfold is to try and just have a more honest conversation about our other senses because we live in a society which is so obsessed with the visual,” he said.
“The key example is that our primary sense is audio. Our brain prioritises audio information and yet, particularly in apps, we use it merely as ‘lift music’ and we could do so much more.”
8. Somerville adds that the biggest challenges for wearable technology revolve around placing an emphasis on emotion.
He said: “The key issue is that when we have technology at this proximity, emotion and those sensory elements become hugely important so what you’re looking at in the next generation technology is technology that has to work with our emotions.
“Because if we don’t work with the emotions, the technology will be rejected by people and that’s already been seen in the first generation of wearables.”