Adding new senses

The universe runs from the scale of tiny particles to entire galaxies, but we only see and make sense of the things from a few millimetres to perhaps a few kilometres.

More than that, we only sense a small fraction of the things going on around us. The light we see, for example, is only a tiny fraction of all the electromagnetic radiation all around us.

Other animals have other, better senses than us. Snakes can see infrared (to spot heat). Bees can see ultraviolet (to see flowers). Dogs have a far better sense of smell than us.

We can build machines that let us sense things we cannot. (X-ray machines, telescopes,  microscopes, radios, plus of course night vision glasses, hearing aids…)

And if we attach these devices directly to our brains, it turns out that those brains somehow work out how to interpret the data — just as they already somehow work out how to interpret the data that already comes from our eyes, ears, nose, …

One application is that we understand how it is possible to build and implant new machines, that let people sense sights and sounds they currently cannot.

Another is that it becomes possible to develop machines that sense (for example) ‘the matrix’ of zeroes and ones that represent the stock market. Or even flying a 747…

So the question is, how would you like to experience your universe?

(And what will we do with those senses when we can?)

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