The wearable tech project allowing users to literally see their biases

Jiabao Li trained smart helmet to behave like social media when serving content that user agrees or disagrees with

It is too easy to think of technology as a window when it is really a lens that can distort our perception of the world around us. Depending on the kind of lens created both through our own online interactions and the various algorithms deciding what to serve up to us, we each have our own filter bubble.

In this creative TED talk, designer and artist Jiabao Li talks about her wearable tech project that allows the wearer to literally see their biases. She trained the smart helmet to behave like social media does when serving content that the user agrees or disagrees with.

Using the colour red as a visual representation of a political leaning or beliefs of a particular group, in agreement mode, all red objects appear larger than they are: amplified and blown out of proportion. In disagreement mode, the helmet wearer experiences red objects as smaller than they are, almost disappearing from their field of view.

“The device inside the helmet reshapes reality and projects into our eyes through a set of lenses to create an augmented reality,” explains Li.


“I picked the colour red, because it’s intense and emotional, it has high visibility and it’s political. So, what if we take a look at the last American presidential election map through the helmet?”

As Li explains to the audience, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, because the mediation of technology platforms alters our perceptions either way. It exists, she says, on both sides.