Mechanisms underlying perceptual processing and inference undergo substantial changes across the lifespan. If utilized properly, technologies could support and buffer the relatively more limited neurocognitive functions in the still developing or aging brains. Over the past decade, a new type of digital communication infrastructure, known as the “Tactile Internet (TI),” is emerging in the fields of telecommunication, sensor and actuator technologies and machine learning. A key aim of the TI is to enable humans to experience and interact with remote and virtual environments through digitalized multimodal sensory signals that also include the haptic (tactile and kinesthetic) sense. Besides their applied focus, such technologies may offer new opportunities for the research tapping into mechanisms of digitally embodied perception and cognition as well as how they may differ across age cohorts. However, there are challenges in translating empirical findings and theories about neurocognitive mechanisms of perception and lifespan development into the day-to-day practices of engineering research and technological development. On the one hand, the capacity and efficiency of digital communication are affected by signal transmission noise according to Shannon’s (1949) Information Theory. On the other hand, neurotransmitters, which have been postulated as means that regulate the signal-to-noise ratio of neural information processing (e.g., Servan-Schreiber et al., 1990), decline substantially during aging. Thus, here we highlight neuronal gain control of perceptual processing and perceptual inference to illustrate potential interfaces for developing age-adjusted technologies to enable plausible multisensory digital embodiments for perceptual and cognitive interactions in remote or virtual environments.
|Frontiers in human neuroscience
|Published - 10 Feb 2023
Sustainable Development Goals
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- aging, development, multisensory, neuromodulation, perception, sensory augmentation, signal-to-noise, Tactile Internet