Is the creation of new senses possible?

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Research has shown that sensory substitution works. For example, the sense of touch can be used to substitute for seeing or hearing. The brain is plastic, and although you pass information to the brain via the sense of touch, the brain can amazingly still interpret it as vision or sound.

The product BrainPort ( translates visual information from a camera to electrotactile signals on the tongue, which the brain then can interpret as vision. It has allowed blind people to see objects so well they can stop a ball moving towards them. Another device, Buzz (, translates audio information from a microphone to vibrotactile signals on the wrist, which the brain can interpret as sound, making deaf people hear.

The brain doesn’t seem to be prewired to interpret the electrochemical signals originating from the eyes and ears. Instead, it learns to interpret these signals as sound and vision over time. In a similar way, the brain can learn to interpret the electrochemical signals originating from the skin as vision or sound.

However, we are not limited to only use the sense of touch as an alternative information channel to substitute for other senses. We can use it as an information channel for any type of information. For example, the device North Sense, which is placed on the skin of your chest, vibrates whenever you are facing the magnetic north. Then, your brain experiences a new sense of always knowing the direction of the north.

In a similar way, the xBand gives you the experience of a new sense where you receive textual information in a totally new way!

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