The world we experience is not the real world. It’s a mental construction, filtered through our physical senses. Which raises the question: How would our world change if we had new and different senses? Could they expand our universe?
Technology has long been used to help people who have lost, or were born without, one of the five primary senses. More recently, researchers in the emerging field of “sensory enhancement” have begun developing tools to give people additional senses—ones that imitate those of other animals, or that add capabilities nature never imagined. Here’s how such devices could work, and how they might change what it means to be human.
One of the BIG DEALS going on today is innovation in the means of human perception. Clearly new tools in that arena can change many of the parts of civilization that have previously evolved around the status quo in perception.
This has been ongoing if we believe Marshall McLuhans’ Medium is the Message theories, since at least the printing press which made possible ubiquitous distribution of information that had a form of permanence over generations. Or one might go back to the “invention of language” which was distributed among a tribe or group of tribes and gave some form of permanence in memorized oral narratives.
But today, after telegraph, phone, radio, TV, and cloud tools…we’re clearly going off the perceptual map and entering new territory. In terms of the 7 Core Elements of DLE…new perceptual tools will clearly affect “Understanding Media” as well as “Applying the New Science of Learning” among others. What in fact would learning look like, if it’s based on an expansion and extension of human senses in hugely dramatic new ways?
This article gets one thinking on some of those possibilities…some of which are already here with smart phone and smart watch wearable sensors connected to web wirelessly.