Saturday, March 21, 2015

Creating New Senses

Our reality is defined by our sensory input- hearing, vision, taste, touch, smell, and any other signals sent from our body to our brain.

Our central nervous system is encased in blackness, & our experience of the Universe is determined by the signals sent from our sense organs.

Today I Found Out:

We usually don't think about the extremely limited scope of our perceptions. Human beings are only picking up on a small portion of the world around us. There are signals all around us that we are completely unaware of, without the use of tools or devices.

For example, the visual light that our eyes can see is a tiny slice of the overall electromagnetic spectrum.

Similarly, our ears only hear a certain frequency range of vibrations in the air that we perceive as sounds.

These are limitations of the senses that we do have. There is a vast amount of information that we are not equipped to sense at all.

Other forms of life have organs that can sense environmental cues to which we are totally oblivious.

• Bats use sound waves to visualize objects in 3D space for echolocation.
• Snakes can detect infrared wavelengths to sense heat signatures.
• Birds have specialized cells that detect their orientation to the planet's magnetic field.
• Bees can see ultraviolet light reflected off flowers.


The other night, I was watching an excellent TED talk by neuroscientist David Eagleman about using technology to augment our perception of reality, by facilitating new sensory inputs.


His premise was that the brain is capable of receiving sensory data from input other than our biological sense organs. The human brain is like an extremely adaptable computer, that can interpret signals from an unlimited number of possible "plug & play" devices.

The brain has the astounding ability to take incoming data from unfamiliar sources & interpret it to help formulate an understanding of the world. Our minds are pattern-recognition systems with capabilities that we cannot even imagine. It's ironic that the brain doesn't not even know the limits of its own potential.

In the future, is inevitable that people will continue to "hack" the senses, in order to expand the human experience & understand the world in new ways.


People are already experimenting with ways to detect new stimuli in the environment. I've seen stories about individuals embedding magnets under their skin so they can detect the strength of electromagnetic fields.

External sensing devices, neural implants, and perhaps even new biologically-engineered sense organs, will change how the mind can experience the infinite aspects of the Universe.

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