Somameter is portable arousal uploading device for imaging sensation without consciousness.

Did you know that we receive some 10,000 units of information through our senses every second, but that only 40 units can be processed through consciousness? This means that our senses take in roughly 250 times the amount of information than can be represented to us by consciousness. In our everyday lives, sensation- without-accompanying-consciousness vastly overshadows sensation that we are aware of. Have you ever wondered what happens to this sensory information? Have you ever wondered what function it has in our embodied contact with the environment? Can it be that sensation-without- accompanying-consciousness comprises a furtive source of embodied life that is continuously but imperceptibly attuning our bodies to the perceptual and cognitive tasks presented by an ever-changing world?

Somameter has been created to open an interface onto this covert domain of sensory life. Comprised of a microcamera embedded in a device that can be worn as a pendant and attached to a galvanic skin response sensor, Somameter furnishes a technical surrogate for consciousness. As the wearer moves around in the world during her daily routine, the device will take pictures whenever the galvanic skin response sensor, which measures bodily arousal, is triggered. The device will be set at an optimal threshold to generate roughly 50 pictures per day. These pictures will function less as indexical testimonies to some past experience than as tags marking certain experiential moments in the wearer’s lifeline.

While many of these pictures will correspond to events that are accompanied by consciousness, some of them will mark moments of sensory arousal – events that occur at the level of bodily sensation – that are not accompanied by conscious representation or experience. Wearers of the device will have the opportunity to consult these pictures at the end of each day and will be invited to alter their experience in any way they see fit. Whatever the outcome of this experience, the device will bring some key moments of sensation-without-consciousness into the awareness of the wearer. Indeed, even though this awareness will be separated by a much greater time-lag that the 1⁄2 second separating consciousness from sensation when it occurs in real-time, it will afford the wearer the capacity to bring such awareness into play when she next negotiates similar tasks in her everyday life.

In addition to the camera and GSR sensor, the Somameter will be equipped with a GPS sensor and a wireless card. The GPS sensor will allow each image taken by the camera to be identified with a unique time-space location. The wireless card will allow the images to be sent automatically to a server where, via a social media interface, they will be fed back into the experience of a larger public and assessed in relation to a broader array of likes and dislikes.

Start tapping the secret life of your own sensory inclinations. Wear a Somameter today.