Third Person Vision

I paid a visit to the Congress Avenue bat bridge in Austin, Texas one day to view the sunset bat flight.


The idea of a bat for me is forever intertwined with Thomas Nagel's 1974 paper "What Is it Like to Be a Bat?" and I've included a copy of it below in case you'd like to read it or read it again. It was a paper that I was familiar with prior to working at the Eagleman Laboratory for Perception and Action but it was also one I remember discussing there. Besides philosophy of mind, lab conversations and projects often related to sensory substitution, sensory addition, and time perception.


Watching the bats I started to wonder if current technology could at least allow me to watch the bat flight from the point of view of a bat by, even if giving me a proper sonar sense is beyond reach for now. It wasn't long before I pivoted into other ideas about vision from different perspectives.


I went on to construct a prototype rig for third person vision using mostly off the shelf components. So far it's been an entertaining experiment, and I'm looking into ways to demonstrate its application for movement activities such as dance, martial arts, and sports. Later on I think it will be a valuable tool for studying the time course of neuroplasticity for sensory substitution and sensory addition. Ultimately this work may be a stepping stone toward one day getting that bat sonar sense.



Nagel Bat Paper