As I Gazed at the Flowers, a Stone was Gazing at the Stars
SUPER SENSING is a new theoretical system that solves the challenges that "sensing" faces.
What is a sensor, and what is sensing?
Surprisingly, these terms can be defined quite simply. We humans perceive the environment that surrounds us through our five senses. By inserting some kind of medium between any of those senses and the environment, we are able to obtain even more detailed information and learn things that we did not know. We call that type of medium a “sensor” and, for the purposes of this book, I would like to define that overall process as “sensing”.
Generally speaking, when we talk about a “sensor”, the majority of people usually imagine an electronic device. However, the meaning for a sensor that I want to use here is not restricted to that limited range. In this book, I broadly define any kind of medium that is used to acquire information as a “sensor”. For example, there is the historically well-known anecdote of a canary being used to detect carbon monoxide in a coal mine. In this case, the canary can be considered the very definition of a “sensor”.
In that way, “sensing” can be defined as referring to any “extension of the five senses”. And so, in order to expound upon sensing, I would like to start in this chapter by specifically looking at those five senses that human beings possess.
Think in Terms of 3 Nodes and 2 Links
At all times, we perceive the environment around us through our five senses. Sensing, however, refers to the act of acquiring information that is difficult for us humans to perceive with our five senses through the use of a device known as a "sensor" placed between those senses and the environment. So it is our though that Sensing can be represented by the relational diagram of 3 nodes and 2 links, composed of our environment, sensors and humans.
We call that relational diagram based on this 3-node-2-link concept a “Sensing Design Diagram” and, by arranging the image in this way, we can discuss the various design variations possible for each of those nodes and links, and how they can be combined.
Even with the same act of sensing, it can be presumed that new possibilities will emerge by simply changing the target of the measurement (for example, attaching an activity meter to an animal or a robot rather than a person) or changing the method of measurement (such as extracting sound from an image analysis instead of through a microphone). In addition, the possibility of a new industry being born exists if the measurer is not a person, for example if data processing is left to an AI. This way, by thinking about sensing based on a simple diagram of 3 nodes and 2 links, we can greatly expand its prospects into the future.
What is “SUPER SENSING”?
Applying the 3-node- 2-link theory of my Sensing Design Diagram enables us to come up with new sensing designs that we have never had before. And I would like to use “SUPER SENSING” to refer to this approach and system that brings new ideas to sensing by rethinking the structure of sensing design and reconfiguring the process of development based on those design concepts. In line with that thought, I will introduce nine basic patterns of development and explain the characteristics of each design.