Special Issue on Augmenting the Human Body and Being
Masahiko Inami, Hiroyasu Iwata, Minao Kukita, Yuichi Kurita, Kouta Minamizawa, Masaaki Mochimaru, Takuji Narumi, Junichi Rekimoto, and Kenji Suzuki
Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo
4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan
Professor, Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering, Waseda University
27 Waseda-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0042, Japan
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University
Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan
Professor, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Hiroshima University
1-4-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8527, Japan
Professor, Keio University Graduate School of Media Design
4-1-1 Hiyoshi, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 223-8526, Japan
Director of Human Augmentation Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
6-2-3 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Information and Systems, University of Tsukuba
1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8573, Japan
Information technologies, such as IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR), have seen so much development that there is now a wide variety of digital equipment incorporated into the infrastructure of daily life. From the agrarian society (Society 1.0) through the information society (Society 4.0), humankind has created farmlands and cities by structuring natural environments physically and has built information environments by structuring them informationally. However, despite the rapid development of information environments, it may be fair to say that the perspectives of the human body have not changed at all since the industrial revolution.
In the context of these recent technological developments, greater attention is being paid to human augmentation studies. These studies aim for a new embodiment of “human-computer integration,” one which can physically and informationally compensate or augment our innate sensory functions, motor functions, and intellectual processing functions by using digital equipment and information systems at will, as if they were our hands and feet. It has also been proposed that the technical systems that enable us to freely do what we want by utilizing human augmentations be called “JIZAI” (freedomization) as opposed to “automation.”
The term “JIZAI body” used in these studies represents the new body image of humans who will utilize engineering and informatics technologies to act at will in the upcoming “super smart society” or “Society 5.0.” In these studies, human augmentation technologies are an important component of JIZAI, but JIZAI is not the same as human augmentation. JIZAI is different in scope from human augmentation, as it aims to enable humans to move freely among the five new human body images: “strengthened sense” (augmented perception), “strengthened physical body” (body augmentation), “separately-designed mind and body” (out of body transform), “shadow cloning,” and “assembling.” In the society of the future where JIZAI bodies widely prevail, we will use technologies that enable us to do what we have failed at or given up due to limitations of our physical bodies. We believe that a future society, one in which aging does not reduce our capabilities but instead increased options give us hope, can be realized. This special issue, consisting of two review papers and twelve research papers, deals with diverse and wide-ranging areas, including human augmentation, robotics, virtual reality, and others. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all the authors and reviewers of the papers contributed to this special issue and to the editorial committee of the Journal of Robotics and Mechatronics for their gracious cooperation.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.