Research Programme

Performance Augmentation seeks to bridge the dissociative gap between abstract knowledge and its practical application, researching radically new methods to connect knowing something ‘in principle’ to applying that knowledge ‘in practice’. We investigate how to speed up the refinement of experience and its integration into polished performance.

Within a narrative in which Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are said to threaten jobs, Performance Augmentation is focused on identifying, developing, and validating solutions that meets the need of modern industry for access to expertise, professional development to a level of mastery; ensuring regulatory compliance at lower cost. Top experts are scarce, time is value, and travel a risk. Immersive and wearable technologies enable us to rethink personal computing to embed knowledge directly into what people experience, enriching the world beyond the visible to allow the creation of novel and powerful forms of feedback on performance.

It is our mission to create the new new interface and extend the performance-relevance of human-computer interaction (HCI). We research mixed reality interactive content and establish interoperability in order to improve user experience and human performance, while at the same time lowering entry barriers and providing safe routes for R&D investment.

As part of this research programme, we pilot novel experience capturing and guidance technology, holographic artificial intelligences, and human performance analytics with real-time applications to respond to the open knowledge and innovation challenges of the 21st century; with increased affective attachment, immediacy, utility, and accuracy.

In a sense, we seek to build, with wearable and pervasive computing, super powers that allow the user to thrive and act at a level of proficiency otherwise only acquirable at greater cost. PAL’s strategic focus is currently on three main strands of research:

  • Job Performance Augments The traditional route to knowledge is to read a book from a library. We are investigating how we can go beyond this and embed knowledge directly into the perception of the user, right where action happens and performance is required. Wearables act as gateway, mediating between objective reality and its reconstruction with visual, auditive, haptic, and other sensory augmentations. When done well, they help turn sensorimotor perception into experience. We research representation, implementation, and application, working both on standards as well as toolkits and frameworks. We push the envelope technology enhanced learning to support knowledge co-construction with wearable technology and other forms of pervasive computing.
  • Holographic AIs and Digital Twins The future workplace is digital, using spatial computing to turn the world into a canvas. There is reason to believe that anthropomorphic characters and functional virtual replicas may mediate a lot of the future interaction in the workplace, in situ and at the distance. Our applications in technology enhanced learning investigate holographic AIs and Digital Twins to help understand the Next Wave in human-centred computing.
  • Performance Analytics With inside-out and outside-in approaches, we can link in real-time through from traces of performance directly to their underlying competence, and systematically develop tools for performance capture, extraction, analysis, and prediction.

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