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Front. Comput. Sci., 08 August 2022
Sec. Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
Volume 4 - 2022 |

Editorial: Augmented humans

  • 1Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2CODE, Bundeswehr University Munich, Munich, Germany
  • 3Department of Embedded Intelligence, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Kaiserslautern, Germany

Editorial on the Research Topic
Augmented humans

Technologies augmenting intellectual and physical abilities have become commonplace in our modern world. The idea of augmenting human intellect has a long tradition: Bush (1945) described “Memex,” a device extending the brain's information processing and memory capabilities by storing large chunks of information including books, communication, and any other records to augment human intellect. The vision of creating a human-machine symbiosis (Licklider, 1960) goes back to the 1960s when Engelbart (1962) presented the idea of augmenting human intellect using technologies. Today, many of the technologies envisioned by Engelbart and others are commonplace. Looking into the future, many technologies amplifying the human body and mind are within reach.

The Research Topic “Augmented Humans” connects researchers from interdisciplinary scientific areas, including ubiquitous computing, interface design, mixed reality, physiological sensing, and artificial intelligence. The collaboration between these research disciplines led to the foundation of the annual Augmented Humans conference. In this venue, professionals meet yearly to present recent advances in augmenting human intellect and physique through technologies. The result is a growing community moving forward the vision of Bush, Licklider, and Engelbart.

We received seven submissions, of which four articles were conditionally accepted. We accepted the four submissions after another round of reviews. We are happy to receive diverse scientific contributions regarding human augmentation, showing the fields' overall versatility. Taheri et al. presented how facial expressions can be used as controller input for users with motor impairment for video games. The presented study is an excellent example of how the vision of augmenting humans overcomes limitations due to physical or cognitive impairments. Genç et al. showed a categorization of human expression using appendages augmenting human appearance and skin by literature review. Looking at clothing as a design layer, the authors envisioned in situ augmentation with clothes and fabrics in the future. Miura et al. studied the body cognition of users who own multiple bodies in virtual environments. Specifically, the authors studied humans' task performance and body cognition when they have multiple entire bodies as an illustrative embodiment. They found that humans can have a sense of body ownership and agency for each body when controlling multiple bodies simultaneously. Finally, Nakamura et al. investigated how cheek stimulation can be conducted for spatial directional guidance. With a technical prototype, the authors explored stimulation techniques using robot arms mounted on an HMD and found that cheek stimulation provides sufficient cues for guidance. A subsequent user study shows that cheek stimulation reduces task completion time for guidance tasks in virtual reality.

These articles present various approaches for human augmentation including implicitly integrated interaction with technologies. We are confident that the selected articles are both compelling and inspirational for all readers who wish to dive deeper into the domain of human-centered augmentation.

Author contributions

All authors listed have made a substantial, direct, and intellectual contribution to the work and approved it for publication.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


Bush, V. (1945). As we may think. Atlantic Monthly 176,101–108.

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Engelbart, D. C. (1962). Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. Menlo Park, CA: Stanford Research Institute, p. 21.

PubMed Abstract | Google Scholar

Licklider, J. C. (1960). Man-computer symbiosis. IRE Trans. Human Factors Electron. 1, 4–11.

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Keywords: ubiquitous computing, cognitive augmentation, physiological sensing, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, physical augmentation, user sensing

Citation: Kosch T, Abdelrahman Y and Zhou B (2022) Editorial: Augmented humans. Front. Comput. Sci. 4:957927. doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2022.957927

Received: 31 May 2022; Accepted: 21 June 2022;
Published: 08 August 2022.

Edited and reviewed by: Kristof Van Laerhoven, University of Siegen, Germany

Copyright © 2022 Kosch, Abdelrahman and Zhou. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Thomas Kosch,