2011 Science Showcase
American Psychological Association Convention
Washington, DC, August 5th and 6th, 2011
The very first Science Showcase featured live on-stage research demonstrations and audience participation and highlighted examples of fascinating research that has translated into everyday benefits for the public.
Science Showcase Prize for Best Demonstration:
Seeing with your ears? Sensory substitution with The vOICe
Michael Proulx, Queen Mary University, London
Imagine losing your sense of sight and being able to "see" instead with your ears. Recent psychological research has demonstrated the power of neural plasticity in adults to allow one deprived of one sensory modality to receive that missing input through another, intact sensory modality. The vOICe, a visual-to-auditory sensory substitution device invented by Dr Peter Meijer of the Netherlands (1992) maps visual images to sound and can successfully provide blindfolded users with a sense of what (object recognition) and where (object localization). This presentation enabled participants to watch and listen to the device in action, and even have a chance to try it out.
Energy research for the smart home: The uci@home project
Beth Karlin, University of California, Irvine
With energy conservation focus at an all-time high, novel approaches are being considered across all sciences—and psychology is taking a lead. The uci@home project is an interdisciplinary collaboration at UC Irvine to develop an affordable and effective at-home feedback system to simultaneously optimize the engineering and psychological aspects of conservation design. This presentation provided participants an opportunity to interact with the feedback system in a mock living space and learn how features of the system were designed utilizing psychological science. A hands-on demonstration of the lighting, energy, and temperature sensors was given and real-time ambient and graphical feedback was provided by the system.
Psychology, technology and fatigue assessment
David Schroeder, FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute
Within many occupations, sleep loss associated with long hours and erratic schedules results in performance declines which often compromise safety. The Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT), invented by David Dinges, assesses fatigue by measuring sustained attention, psychomotor speed, and impulsivity. Of particular interest is the use of the PVT with astronauts, as immediate, in-flight feedback from the PVT allows astronauts to monitor their cognitive performance during rigorous missions. The presentation enabled attendees to see a display of the PVT Self Test and learn about the applications of the PVT and several other tools used to assess sleep and fatigue in operational settings.