We only develop technology firmly grounded in science
Your brain naturally enhances your senses when you are highly alert and attentive
Your brain has the amazing ability of seamlessly sharpening your hearing, vision, and touch during time periods of increased attention and arousal. This important neural mechanism improves perceptual acuity during critical situations, when incorrect perception of details in tactile, auditory, and visual stimuli may lead to a costly mistake.
For example, imagine you're walking alone in the woods and hear unexpected footsteps approaching you. Your arousal skyrockets as you wonder if you're about to come face to face with a bear. During this aroused state, neural circuitry is activated that rapidly sharpens your senses, facilitating your ability to correctly identify the approaching animal and optimally react. You breathe a sigh of relief as your heightened senses let you realize it's just a rabbit.
Our research revealed neural circuitry that allows for arousal-linked heightened senses
Preclinical research performed by our team at Columbia University, and published in Nature Neuroscience, elucidated the neuromodulatory circuitry responsible for arousal-linked heightened senses. Direct activation of this circuitry in awake rats enhanced their perceptual acuity, reducing their rate of misperception-induced errors on sensory tests.
Then we perfected methods of activating this circuitry to sharpen senses on demand
This sensory-sharpening circuitry is deep in the brain, precluding direct activation in humans. In subsequent research, published in The Journal of Neural Engineering, our team overcome this translational barrier by developing and validating a method of activating the target circuitry, and enhancing sensory processing, via stimulation of a peripheral nerve in the neck. In human subjects, this peripheral nerve can be activated via noninvasive transcutaneous stimulation.
Our technology provides users sharpened sensory acuity during moments that matter
We rarely find ourselves facing situations that induce high arousal in the modern world, yet could often benefit from heightened senses. Sharper Sense's technology gives users back control over their sensory state, unlocking enhanced senses at the push of a button.
- Charles Rodenkirch and Qi Wang. Rapid and transient enhancement of thalamic information transmission induced by vagus nerve stimulation. Journal of Neural Engineering, 2020.
- Charles Rodenkirch, Yang Liu, Brian J Schriver, and Qi Wang. Locus coeruleus activation enhances thalamic feature selectivity via norepinephrine regulation of intrathalamic circuit dynamics. Nature Neuroscience, 2019. (Featured in Nature Neuroscience News & Views)