Senses: Our Perception of Reality – Timestamps
00:00 – Intro
00:49 – Our perception?
03:46 – Factoids
08:05 – How many senses do we have?
17:36 – Senses in the animal kingdom: electro reception and sharks
24:51 – Bioelectrogenesis
27:18 – Other senses
29:24 – Mantis shrimp
33:39 – Thermal detection
35:28 – Illusions
37:28 – Synaesthesia
46:10 – Sensory substitution
54:00 – Sensory tech
59:05 – Sensory enhancement
01:01:50 – Off the wall – if you could have one extra sense, what would it be?
01:06:45 – Ending and outro
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In this episode we talk all things senses and some things nonsense! Our senses define how we perceive the world and indeed our reality. Tom and Mitch explore how various people, and animals perceive the world, debate how many senses humans actually have, ask what it means to have synaesthesia, a rare condition where people can see music and taste sound and take a look at innovative sensory tech. Music by: Joakim Karud – https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud.
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Senses – Our Perception of Reality – Transcript
Tom: Hello and welcome to the conduct science podcast where we sort the sense from the sensibility via rigorous scratch and sniff test. If you want to check out the latest goings on, you can go to conduct science.com or you can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching @conductscience. If you have any questions, please use the #AskConductScience. We’d be more than happy to help answer them on this show. I am your host Tom Jenks once again joined by the sensational but satirical Mitchell getting…
Mitch: Good evening, good day, good afternoon depending on where you are.
Tom: And today’s topic is senses our perception of reality. So, hello Mitch, how are you doing this week?
Mitch: Uh, I’m doing good. I kind of got a bit existential I thought we were just doing senses, not like perceptions of reality
Tom: Ah no, that’s good because that allows me to describe why I’ve said our perception of reality. Um, so, you know, it’s easy to forget that there is more to the world and what we can see here and touch etcetera. You know, in space there is lots of things that we don’t detect that we haven’t evolved to detect like electromagnetic radiation outside the visible spectrum, radio waves, microwaves, hearing outside of our the hearing spectrum. We can’t see heat thermal vision. We don’t have any of that.
Tom: And I think a good quote that sums this up is from the Truman show, fantastic film is we accept the reality of the world with which we are presented. And so I think it’s, whilst we are talking about senses, these sensors allow us to detect the world and we see everything that we see, we hear everything we see, we hear even, sorry. Hello. Um, and it’s easy to forget that there is more around us that we are not in tune with, if that makes sense.
Mitch: And that everybody senses things differently. I think a lot of people always forget that as well.
Mitch: I often forget that. Uh, one of my friends is colorblind and I’m just there, like pick up the pink mug and then it dawns on me that everybody perceives everything differently and he doesn’t know what the pink mug is. So there’s that
Tom: You bad person!
Tom: Um, yeah, no, exactly. And yeah, everyone like is has that kind of view, you know, what you see is you assume everyone else’s see, but I don’t think if I look at a or a pink mug, as your example was, even between people who both have color vision, we may not see the same pink, you know, it’s a different shade of pink, but we call it pink, you know?
Mitch: Yeah. And going back to perceptions day is a very, uh, funny or not funny but interesting, um, fact that if you know more, uh, ways of describing colors. So if you don’t just use red and pink and use like fuschia and lavander and all those colors and know like when you’ve got your, your dulux hart up up and they’ve got like Swatch Yellow, um, the more names that you can, you know, to describe the different colors, the more colors you can actually perceive. Cause you have ways of identifying them.
Tom: Now that makes sense. You’ve kind of pre-categorised some shades to be able to pick them out already.
Mitch: Yeah. So you can be like, oh actually this is teal. Um, and everyone’s just like, oh, you’re one of those guys. And you’re like, oh, I’m sorry. I can identify colors correctly. Um, yeah.
Tom: That’s cool. Um, so we’ve tangented immediately, um, that’s quite impressive.
Tom: No no, I think it was me who led that so you can escape the blame. Um, but as usual, I created or researched some nuggets of knowledge, some little factoids for everyone. So again, let’s, let’s just go through those and see maybe if any of these you didn’t find you didn’t know before, so people can detect about 1 trillion distinct scents , scents not senses, scents. Uh, and women can smell better than men
Mitch: Sense? Um, what’s the definition of like a sense?
Mitch: What, what’s one sense?
Tom: Like when you smell scent?
Mitch: Ohhh Okay.
Tom: Yeah. It’s confusing isn’t it?
Mitch: Yeah. Scents. ssss. Okay. That’s, that’s, that’s my bad. Okay. Yeah. Oh, I didn’t know that, but, oh yeah, I’d wouldn’t, hadn’t imagine how you’d go about, you know, scientifically proving it. Um,
Tom: No, I don’t know. I think they must be like, oh, an orange producers of this type of, you know, whatever and our receptors pick it up. And then I dunno… Tea producers, this kind of molecule and our receptors pick it up I guess is the different molecules that are nose can smell is 1 trillion.
Mitch: Okay, and combinations?#
Tom: I guess. And they’re assuming that every different and the combinations of course.
Tom: And I guess they’re presuming every molecule has its own smell, but,
Mitch: and then combination of the molecules and stuff. Yeah, that makes sense. Um, I imagine if you’d do the five, I mean, you, you do the five main sensing organs that we’ll go onto later. Uh, and then you do like a factorial factorial of five. Yeah. And then you’d also have to do five to the power five, but then do all the iterations of like the combination of each one.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. It’s working out the, I remember doing that in stats god, that was a pain.
Tom: Alright, next factoid. Um, I think a lot of people know this, but some people may not. You have a blind spot in your eye caused by where the optic nerve attaches to the retina and you can actually find it if you close your left or right eye and hold up the arm, like as you’re getting a massive thumbs up. Uh, so if you’re got your left eye open, hold up your left arm and slowly move it out while staring in the same spot and the tip of your thumb will disappear.
Mitch: This is one factiod that I did know for purely my own health reasons. Um, I have issues with my eyeballs back in the day. Uh, I had to do those checks and did the full optometry. There’s a disk, there’s a like, um, a sort of sphere that you look into. It’s like a half sphere and that you look into that has like flashing lights in it and you have to click the button every time you see a flashing light. Um, and they determine your blind spot via that and how big it is and what shape is because it can actually change. Um, and if you fail the test by too much, they can legally take away your driving license. I drove there and we sat there like, oh no, no, this, if this goes bad.
Tom: But you have a massive blind spot right in front of you. It turns out your whole life.
Mitch: Yeah. Because you don’t really know if you use, if you’re using both eyes cause it like compensates for like both of them, but
Tom: yeah. Hmm. And your brain kind of cancels out that blind spot.
Mitch: Yeah. It has like motion, pseudo motion tracking that just like paints in,
Tom: uh, the next factoid actually made me feel a bit sick, but I’m going to share it with you anyway. Um, when you’re eating food, you actually taste from your brain, even if it feels like it’s in your mouth.
Mitch: Uh, yeah, I am. Well and truly uncomfortable right now. I was just thinking about what the lunch I ate and then being like, oh yeah, Nah, that’s the brain being like, oh yeah, it’s a curry, and not actually in my mouth.
Tom: So the next time you got a nicepieit of Pi in your mouth or whatever you like eating, um, remember that you’re actually tasting it in your brain at night in your mouth. So yeah, that’s scary
Tom: Scarred a bunch of people. Oh yeah, that’s it. We lost half our listener base. Well done. Um, so onto the first topic is something that’s highly debated in this area among scientists and non scientists alike is how many senses we actually have. Um, I think, you know, when everyone, when you ask the a random person on the street, maybe even me before starting this research, it was like, oh, we have five senses, sight hearing, smell, taste and touch. But I think most people have now come to the consensus that we have between 14 and 20 senses, but it can go as low as three. But it all depends on your definition of what a sense is.
Mitch: Yeah. I also found this out when I was doing the research, uh, started at five, but then realized that the five were to do with the sensing organs. Okay. Does that make sense? Yeah. So you’ve got your herring, which are your ears tastes, which as your tongue then you touch, which is your skin, oh dear I’ve for-forgotten the rest eyesight. You can see with your eyes, we were literally just talking about it. Uh, what’s the final one?
Tom: Uh Smell?
Mitch: Smell yeah your nose. Uh, yeah. So, but those, those are the sensing organ.
Tom: We conduct our research. I assure you.
Mitch: Oh dear, I’ve even got it right in front of me. Those are like the sensing organs that we use, that people like immediately go to when they go, okay, what are your five senses? But then there’s other things that you could technically argue like, um, things like pain, I would say that’s a sense and it could be a combination of different, um, sensing organs, but the sense itself is very unique. So there’s things like that. Um, but yeah, the argument for the three is that they’re, like physical types of stimulus. So it’s light, chemicals and mechanical.
Tom: Yeah, that’s exactly the same as I found.
Mitch: But that’s categorizing, um, uh, light into, that’s where sight is. And then chemicals is smell and taste and internal sensors. So that’s obviously tongue nose and internals and then mechanical, which is hearing and touch. Yeah. So yeah. There’s one, there’s, there’s many others. There’s of the 33, you’ve got things like light red, green, blue,
Mitch: Oh, they’re class each one of those is a different sense. Yeah. Because they make up every other color. So you need to be able to sense which and how much there is of each one to know like, okay, well this is brown, which is a mixture of like red and blue and little bit of green. Um, so things like that. And then on top of that, there’s things like, um, muscle stretching. And how would you describe that? So you said that you went for a run like I did earlier and then came back and did some stretching. How would you describe the sense of the muscle stretching under the skin to someone? Like, surely that should be a sense in itself because it’s relying on the skin on the outside. But I can definitely feel things on the inside.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. There’s definitely some kind of receptors on the inside, isn’t there too, but maybe that’s just the same as touch and it’s just internal and external touch, you know?
Mitch: Okay. Then, ah, yeah, that’s true. There’s, there’s some things that, yeah, I would agree with, but things like, how would you define balance then?
Tom: Balance is to do with your inner ears. It is right? I think that’s a sense in itself yeah.
New Speaker: Yeah, its how it spirals out isn’t it? It’s, it’s the blood pooling in the end and it spirals out, that’s your balance, but what would you define that as? Would you define as hearing? Would you define that as touch?
Tom: No, I think that’s its own sense, like I’ve come across the argument that balance and acceleration, being able to feel that. So when you’re in a car and it goes forward and being able to feel that acceleration or your own acceleration, uh, I’ve been found that described as its own sense. Um, as well as another one that we can argue for and against is the kinesthetic sense. So if you’re in a completely dark room where you’ve got your eyes closed and you lift up your arms, you know exactly where your arms are, even though you can’t see them, but you can feel what position they’re in.
Mitch: Okay. Yeah, I would. Yeah.
Tom: So that’s your sense of your body in the 3D space around you. Um, and some people say that’s a sense. Some people say that’s not a sense.
Mitch: I think it’s like temperature. What would you like?
Tom: I think temperature is, I sense because one of the arguments I think I aligned with was if you’ve got the receptors for it, perhaps it’s a sense because we’ve got receptors for light in our eyes, receptors for hearing in our ears. Um, we’ve got temperature receptors in our skin, pain receptors in our skin. Yeah. Um, so I kind of agree with that being defining a sense, but at the same time you can take that too far and say, my feeling for wanting a drink or being hungry is a sense.
Mitch: Yeah. Well I would, I would say there’s all sentences. Things like a full stomach, oh, your bladder stretching. Even it’s gonna make it. Like if people, if I, if I say this next one, people are going to focus on it and it’s going to make them uncomfortable, but people’s lungs inflating when they breathe.
Tom: Oh, you made me feel weird.
Mitch: Yeah. So you feel those things and it’s the sensors. But my argument that I kind of came back to is these are senses that we have, but they rely on the five sensing organs that we have, the not organs, but um, the methods of we have what we send to all go back to touch, smell, taste.
Tom: So would you say the touch organ is the skin presumably or would you say the touch the, is the receptors in the skin?
Mitch: Yeah, it’s the nerves. Because then that, then that explains the, how we can feel things stretching within our body and explains how he can feel muscles. It like that sort of thing. And then the balance is using the ear, which is that section. Um, and then linear acceleration, which is one of the, the, the acceleration that, the one sense that you were talking about that again uses that same section as well as nerves because it’s a combination of both. You’ve got the blood that gets moved back in the ear, which tells your body, okay, we’re moving. But then there’s also the G-force that’s pushing against the organs internally, which is a nerves.
Tom: Yeah, that’s true. But then so nerve ending prob… Presumably comes to one receptor touch receptor or not mechano-receptor, sorry. But then they’re difference to pain receptors and temperature receptors. Yet, they’re still in the skin.
Mitch: Yeah, because a, it’s not specifically the receptor itself… I see what you’re saying.
Tom: Yeah. It’s tricky isn’t it? I mean the scientists can’t come to a general conclusion, so it was just like time last week, you know, I thought this was going to be a semi easy topic compared to last week and I found myself even more disillusioned from reality that I did last week.
Mitch: Then you could argue that the its not the receptors itself, but then the touch aspect is the electro pulses firing.
Tom: Yeah. Then every sense comes down to that. In a way.
Mitch: It’s true. So we’ve got one… sorted.
Tom: I think that the most simple definition that I found was a sense is a way for the brain to receive information about the world and the body and half of the information you receive is internal and the brain kind of does it all by itself. You don’t consciously operate the hippocampus or the amount of insulin in your body, you know, either the brain just kinda does that. Or the organ does it itself. So yeah.
Mitch: That’s another unnerving thing
Tom: Yeah. Uh, if you ever wanted to remain sane, this is not the show to listen to, I think.
Mitch: Yeah. Um, but then it’s like there’s so many weird things about it. Like you can’t feel your skeletons can you.
Tom: Oh God, that’s weird. Okay. Now you’ve made maybe very uncomfortable. See, last week when I was researching time, I was sat there going, what is real? You know that as I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown and now I’m on the other side on the edge of a nervous breakdown being like, what am I,
Mitch: Do you want me to throw another log on that fire?
Tom: Oh go on…
Mitch: At any given time, the bones under your skin are wet…
Tom: Ewwww and I’m suddenly not eating dinner anymore
Mitch: And that our brains are just controlling mechs in the form of skeletons.
Tom: Oh God, you made it weird.
Mitch: It’s just a brain controlling a skeleton.
Tom: We are just meat bags of cells walking around, shaking hands with other meat bags
Mitch: Yep pretty much. But then there are potentially in the future if we wants to do a philosophy episodes, there’s different schools of thought with ghost in the machine and that kind of stuff.
Tom: Oh that’s true. Yeah. Yeah.
Mitch: Of what is consciousness. But I’ll hold that there cause that’s Kantian philosophy and ethics there.
Tom: So that would lead to another 40 minutes of tangenting I think. But I think definitely something we will come back to in a future episode. All right, to bring us back on track then. I would like to talk about senses in the animal world senses that we don’t possess, but we know other animals have. One of the most well known, I think and good to start on is electricity or bioelectricgenesis. So there are two kind of aspects to this, both the reception and production. So for example, uh, sharks and rays use this to find prey. They have cells called the ampullae of Lorenzini or not cells, but I think as a gel like sac or pit in the side of their skin.
Mitch: Yep, you’re close.
Tom: Um, you know what, I studied this last year on my course and I’ve gone and forgotten it.
Mitch: The ampullae of Lorenzini is a pore, so like if, imagine if you had a black head, but instead of the black head being, it is a, um, conductive jelly that goes down into the skin and at the end of the jelly that is a, um, the bottom of the ampulae is a cilia. So it’s like a hair like cell like we’ve gone our throats that can, well, it triggers the release of neurotransmitters in the shark’s brain to let them know there’s something nearby using those electrical reception.
Tom: Yeah, and I know sharks and fish both have the lateral line, so it’s the same thing, but going down the side of their body, um, and this works very well because and they’re very easy to spot on fish. You’ll often see like a very distinct line going down the side. Um, and this is basically a series of these pores. And when the electro-receptor comes in, there’s like periodic channels opening down this line. And the time difference between the electro electricity setting off each ampullae of Lorenzini, let’s the fish know exactly where other fish are or prey is or other fish in the school are so they can keep a school like a tight school. Uh, so that’s very interesting.
Mitch: Yeah. So the, the sharks is the kind of the research that I went in on and the lateral line, like when I started researching it, it kind of terrified me to never want to go in the sea again.
Mitch: I didn’t, I didn’t realize how absolutely. Um, sort of, not mechanical, but how accurate and what they like, what sharks and other fish can sense.
Tom: Yeah it’s crazy.
Mitch: So, the lateral line, which go-, which goes down the side of the body, which you described very well. It’s like a hollow tube covered with modified epithelial cells, which I like the hair cells that like spin around, um, that possess bundles of like 50 microvilli has, uh, which function is, um, I can’t say a mecho-nano-receptors?
Tom: Yep, mechanoreceptors. Is that it?
Mitch: Yeah, mechanoreceptors. There we go. Um, that allow sharks to sense water displacement, pressure and direction. But that sounds simple, but the way that if you try and visualize it, say that you pouring milk into coffee or to tea and you’ve got the swirling that’s going on before you start it and it’s like bubbling round and moving rounds. If a shark was in that situation, it would be able to fully sit there and in its head know where. All the vorticies of this swirling movement is, the pressure given off by the milk and the movement of the water. So directly that it can follow those vortices if, uh, like if, uh, like it’s prey swims through it.
Mitch: Oh yeah. I was just like, Nah, I’m bugging out of going into the sea ever again.
Tom: No, sharks are amazing. They’re incredible.
Mitch: They’re incredible. Like the things you talked about earlier, the, the, the electro reception on sharks is just phenomenal.
Tom: Yeah. It’s absolutely crazy!
Mitch: So actually they can detect changes in an electrical current down to 1 billionth for for voltage. Like that’s how in tuned they are, we’ve been able to detect change, which means that any muscle twitches from any living creature anywhere near them. They can sense. So if you like you moved your finger near a shark, it would be able to be like, okay, there’s movement of a finger right there.
Tom: Very precise. And, the cool thing about hammerhead sharks in particular is they have gone full-ham in devoting energy into this evolutionary energy into this sense. So the reason why they’re heads are shaped the way they are is because it allows them to completely fill the underside of that with extra ampullae of Lorenzini. And it makes basically makes a massive metal detectors for electricity and I, they are so accurate and can sense as you say, the minutests of movements or the heartbeat of animals really far away or really deep in the sand.
Mitch: Like this isn’t even going on to them being able to sense, um, blood from miles away, like, the quote that I found was that if you had to AA batteries that were connected a thousand miles apart, if you had a shark up one end, it could detect when the battery at the other end ran out like over a thousand miles. I was like, yeah, that’s like me just swimming in the sea and being like, oh, this is a shark a thousand miles away that knows that I’m just paddling around.
Tom: Yeah. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to come for you. I mean, now we’re gonna move on to why sharks are fine. Um, I’m going to defend them to the end of the earth. You know? I mean, if you’re in their environment that a lot of the time they come up to you and they’re like, oh, what the hell is this massive thing? Normally scuba divers a lot of the time, get a lot of contact with sharks. What is this massive awkward thing that doesn’t look like it should belong here with a massive metal tank on its back? You know, that they, they come up to us and they’re like, they get weird senses of the metal and everything. They don’t like it. And most of the time, the case of, you know, shark attacks is mistaken identity, you know with seals and surfers and a lot of the time is knowing how to deal with sharks. So I went to Mozambique for five weeks, uh, two years ago and we saw some sharks while scuba diving and it’s knowing how to, I mean, firstly they were very scared so they just swam off. Um, but even if they don’t, it’s knowing how to detect their behavior. If they’ve got their fins down, you know, they’re going to be quite aggressive if they’re just kind of swimming around lazily, you know, that, that you’re kind of fine but still keep your distance. Um, but yeah, I’ve tangented very hard here. .
Mitch: Yeah, I was about to say that we’ve gone from sensing into a aquatic animals. .
Tom: Yeah. Um, yeah. One of the, I got a little kind of nugget of knowledge to add into reception. There’s something called a Peter’s elephant nose fish and it has like an elongated chin called a Schnauzen organ. And that made me laugh. So I thought I’d add it in. .
Mitch: .Is that why your Schnauzer comes from?
Tom: Maybe or maybe Schnauzer organ came in after. One of the really interesting things also to talk about is how electricity, some animals produce electricity. Um, and our, this is called bioelectric genesis. So sharks and fish can receive electrical inputs but they can’t produce it. Well some fish can and there’s two sections. There’s like weakly electrical animals which can produce up to like a volt of electrical energy and they just use it for detecting prey or navigating kind of like echolocation. Uh, which I might talk about in a minute. And then there’s strongly electrical animals which can produce up to 600 volts in the case of electrical eels. Um, and that’s really cool cause it works like basically like a battery. It’s exactly the same structure as a battery, but inside an animal that you’ve got stacks of what they call electrocytes. That keep an ion gradient out of the cell and when they want to produce electricity, they open the ion channels, create a different type of gradient and with all the stacks of electrocytes next to each other, they act exactly like a battery and they can release this when they choose. So, that’s scary.
Mitch: Yeah. That’s where the electrical eel’s kind of characature came from for like cartoons, movies and such. For the bacteria that move electrons from the micro- to the microbes exterior environment, are called exoelectrogens.
Tom: Oh And that’s what bacteria are producing electricity is it?
Mitch: Yeah. That’s, so you talked about though, the quick one, which is the Eel and the slow one, the bacteria is those are the, are the bacteria
Tom: Oh okay… bacteria driven electro genesis. Um, one interesting thing that I found was bees actually use electricity. And I don’t think this is something that many people know. I certainly didn’t know it. So as bees fly, they build up a positive charge with the wings and it builds up, uh, kind of builds up around them. And now flowers normally have a negative charge. Just by existing. Bees can detect the negative charge of a flower and they’ll land on flowers that have a negative charge after the bees leave, that flower has no charge because it’s been canceled out by the bees positive charge. And so if, uh, if another bee comes by, it won’t land on the same flower because it knows it’s being visited because it doesn’t have a negative charge anymore.
Mitch: That was pretty interesting. That is.
Tom: Yeah. I thought that was pretty neat. Um, other senses include echolocation which is common in bats, cetaceans and it’s just used for navigation and hunting, stuff like that. Uh, pigeons have magneto reception. There’s lots of other birds. That was very interesting.
Mitch: Yeah. Well that, that’s one that always throws people of like, how do the pigeons know where to go home. Like when you’ve got homing pigeons or in the war when they were like sending carrier pigeons with like notes and things and being like, oh, well does it know where to go?
Tom: Um, yeah, I think I did a study on homing pigeons and carrier pigeons. So what happens is they have this magneto reception because these animals have a bit of magnetite. Is an element that’s naturally magnetic and
Mitch: It’s also a Pokemon .
Tom: . Yeah actually birds just have a Pokemon inside them and telling them directions, reading a map out. Um, so pigeons have a piece of magnetite in their beak and it kind of sits in like a gel or a soft tissue that allows it to rotate and they can feel which way that is facing and allows them to line up how they want with the magnetic poles. When you release a carrier pigeon, it will fly up into the air and circle around three times and then fly in the direct, correct. Sorry, direction of home. And a lot of it I think is still kind of mysterious. More than that I’m unsure of, but you know, it’s just a way for them to orientate and we know that they use landmarks like just as we do when we’re traveling.
Mitch: Yeah, there’s a, I do remember reading something about pigeons following motorways now because they go in and like a significant enough landmark that they can just follow it.
Tom: Yeah, I mean it makes sense like the roadways and motorways, are you know, stable objects in the environment. If you’re going to orientate yourself off something, why not something that’s there?. Uh, one thing I wanted to talk about, one animal in particular was the Mantis shrimp. Now this is an absolute beauty of an animal…
Mitch: It is incredible, one of my favorites.
Tom: …for many reasons. However, I’ll just stick to senses on this. Um, and its sight. So human photoreceptors, we have three types that detect red, green and blue. Mantis shrimps depending on the species have between 12 and 16. So if you’ve seen the video, true facts about the mantis shrimp, go check it out. If you haven’t, it’s incredible. But I think to steal a quote from then, it’s like, imagine an extra color that you can’t even imagine because, and then times that by 29 or something. It’s absolutely insane.
Mitch: It’s just out she ridiculous like, um, the point where they can tune their sensitivity of their long wavelength color vision to sort of, to adapt to their environment. So on the fly they can be like, okay, it’s dark. Time to go night vision and then just see an infrared.
Tom: That’s crazy.
Mitch: Yeah. Like they can just shift what spectrum they’re looking at. It’s like they can go from a deep ultraviolet to far red if you know what that means. Uh, which is like one end of the spectrum of UVB too. Like I think it’s like 720 nanometers on the color not color spectrum, but the light spectrum, and they can even see polarized light like that.
Tom: That was something I found. And not only can they see it, but they can tell whether it’s a rotating clockwise or counterclockwise and they can match that so they can completely cancel out the effect of polarized light and, or even use it for communication purposes. Uh, just insane. Not mentioning, not even mentioning the fact that, you know, they can punch something so hard, it causes a cavity, uh, or an underwater explosion as hot as the sun.
Mitch: They can super heat water and call some bio luminescence, whether at it.
Tom: Yes. Maybe we’ll just do a whole episode on Mantis shrimp one day. I mean, I, I’d be super keen for that.
Mitch: Yeah. It’s just, yeah. I don’t know how it evolved to get into that state. What were like what were the factors?
Tom: Yeah. It’s like rapid evolution. Um, I remember, so on my course last year, we actually did two lectures just on the Mantis shrimp, just because my lecturer liked it that much. Um, I don’t think it ever came up in the exam, but he was just interested in the mantis shrimp. So, uh, but I mean, it worked. Now I am super interested in the Mantis shrimp as well. .
Mitch: Yep. That’s fair enough. They’re just…
Tom: They’re insane. Absolutely insane animals.
Mitch: Very colorful beings as well, because they can see so many more colors that we can, they’ve decided that they’re going to be rainbow.
Tom: Yeah. I wonder what’s it, obviously we see what we see. I wonder what Mantis shrimp see. When they look at each other and nevermind everything else in the world. I mean, I really can’t imagine it. It’s kind of mind bending, trying to just even think about it.
Mitch: Not to bring this down to a childish note, but have you seen Moana?
Tom: Oh, I have. What can I say… no no I’m not gunna do it.
Mitch: Yep please don’t! .
Mitch: Do you know, when they go down into the underworld and there’s the turtle. I can’t remember what the crustacean’s called, well its not a turtle, uh can’t remember what it’s called, it’s like not Tafiti? That’s the big one. But I imagine like that’s what they see. Like we see them colorful and they see him as gold, but to them because they can see all the different UV spectrums that they’re like this fluorescent UV painted.
Tom: Like they really stand out. Whereas for us it’s really hard to see.
Tom: Maybe that’d be interesting. We got to use all these, uh, to even see UV and like radio waves and thermal and stuff like this. We’ve got to use extra equipment to be able to see it. And we, you know, if I envisage.. Envisage thermal, it’s, you know, on a red to blue spectrum. But that’s just because that’s the way all cameras show it. And we used to red being hot and blue being cold. It may be actually nothing like that.
Mitch: Yeah. Speaking about somewhat detection. I ain’t gone to the thing that I researched, which was specific snakes that have, infrared thermal detection. Yeah. So there are some species of snakes. I think it’s a fair few of them like um, the viper’s pythons and boers I think specifically have, and I know they have it, um, but they can see in the dark, uh well and light, but more specifically if it’s pitch black they can see, um, thanks to protein channels that are activated by heat from the bodies of their prey. So they’ve got these
Tom: Is it like true-vision is it like if we were playing D&D, is it like true vision?
Mitch: Um, I would imagine it’d be like dark vision cause there, there, they would be able to see but not like as accurately I would, I would assume because the way that it works is they have pit organs are much like the, what was it called? The ampullae of Lorenzini. Whether they have the, the pits in their faces.
Tom: It’s like a, just under their eyes they have these massive like black pits.
Mitch: Yeah. So those things, and they can contain a membrane, um, that can connect infrared radiation from warm bodies. So they have this like one meter, uh, space in front of them that they can just detect thermals. It’s great.
Tom: How mad is that? Imagine just walking around at night and everything else being pitch black, but then you see someone and they’re just glowing like a sun, but only once they’re a meter in front of you. .
Mitch: Yeah. Well was speaking right. You’re terrified that I recently went to the Museum of illusions and Edinburgh, onmy recent trip. Uh, and there’s some things in there that kind of were a bit trippy. Like, um, there was the walkway with the world span around you.
Tom: Oh, I think I’ve seen a video of that.
Mitch: Yeah. And I thought I wasn’t going to get affected by it cause I was like, I’m pretty sure my balance is pretty good. I reckon. I reckon I can deal with this two steps onto that platform and my brain for just, because like the senses and it wasn’t matching up with what was happening. I was, I was holding on both sides. Like, oh I’ve gotta, I’ve gotta die. This is it. For me. It was very strange!
Tom: Did you feels sick or?
Mitch: Yeah it was very nauseating because I think
Tom: Do you get travel sick as well.?
Mitch: I don’t, that’s the thing. It was ah, it was very confusing. It really spun around cause I think your, your eyes when you, when you turn over, like if you’re like bend your neck and you, like you look sideways, they automatically right things in your head
Tom: and it mixes with your sense of balance and acceleration. That were talking about earlier, your brain kind of, this is why people get travel sick is you can see that you’re moving but you don’t feel it in your ears if you’re in a car.
Mitch: So everything’s moving your ears and the blood your ears are expecting to move but they’re not. And then your brain is trying to rotate your image and your eyes, right. Say that it’s going counter clockwise spinning. Yeah. Your brain is automatically trying to auto correct itself with the ground so it automatically tries to change it and then yeah, it just throws you out. But yeah. But one of the, they’ve got a, um, a super powerful infrared camera. A heat camera. So I walked in and my girlfriend’s hands very cold. Uh, and obviously I was, I was a bit warm that day from walking around all day and you could actually see the veins through my skin of where the blood was pumping and I was like, uh, uh, that was horrible. But it was very interesting.
Tom: Yeah. Well that’s mad. Uh, speaking of other trippy things, I was one of the first things I came across when I was researching this, I was going to look at how maybe drugs affect the senses, because I thought that would be quite interesting. And what I came on and found out instead was a rare condition called synesthesia. It affects about 4.4% of the people in the world. And it’s basically where people’s people get a stimuli in one sense. But get an involuntary response in another. For example, I could taste sound.
Mitch: It’s it’s one of those running jokes when you’re feeling a bit weird in like, oh I can taste colors there are actual people that due to like cognitive pathways accidentally firing off another one. They can actually taste colors.
Tom: Yeah. So I did a bit of research as to how this comes about. So we all have this at birth. Every single person has this at birth, so they think all babies taste sound and hear, hear sight
Mitch: Such a weird, weird thing. Yeah.
Tom: Um, and they think whilst our brain kind of figures everything out and lines up the pathways, it should in some people connections between certain areas of the brain that are responsible for sense. So between the auditory and olfactory system, maybe like white brain matter doesn’t break away when it should. There’s certain genes for like cutting this white brain matter and it doesn’t. There are a few different types. I’ve got a couple of examples I want to just to speak about. Uh, one is Chromosthesia. This is where sounds produce a response of color either literally, visually or in the mind’s eye. So I would be sat here listening to Mitch and in on the wall in front of me or in 3D space in front of me, there’ll be colors dancing around depending on his voice. If that sounds interesting. There’s an incredible ted talk by Melissa McCracken called painting a song where she listens to songs and paints what she sees and the paintings are incredible. And you’ll look at the painting and actually go, Oh yeah, that painting fits this song because they think that people with Chromosthesia synesthesia, sorry, have like, and I think normal people, when they see these things have kind of an alignment with it. It is pleasing to the brain, even if they don’t have this same sensation. An experiment they did do with this is they got someone to draw what they saw when they heard I think a specific sound and recreated it like six different times, but changed it slightly. Showed it to normal members of the public and were like, which picture or animation fits this sound the best? And I think 90% of the time they picked the one that the synesthete drew. Because it was pleasing and they do have it kind of structure that makes sense to non-synesthetes. There was one guy that I want to speak about that. Oh God. I was laughing so hard and I was researching this far more than I should have been a, there’s a guy called James Wannerton he’s a British man and he has what’s called lexical gustatory synaesthesia.
Mitch: Oh yeah. I was going to say about that.
Tom: Which is where words become tastes. And he said every single sound, especially words have taste and texture sensations. And I’ve got a few examples here. One of his earliest memories is saying the Lord’s prayer in school. Cause when we were in school, when we were younger, if you’re a C of E or Catholic school, that was something we had to do. Um, and he remembers sitting in school tasting Fatty Bacon in his mouth saying the Lord’s prayer.
Mitch: It would’ve made it better, to be honest.
Tom: That’s true.hisA bit more bearable. Um, he said if he went, he hears a dog bark, he gets runny custard in his mouth and the word like tastes like yogurt.
Mitch: Do you know what I liked from the article. Is it that he got asked, um, what his name tastes like? And he was just like, it tastes like chewing gum that has been chewed for so long that it’s lost his taste and I was like, aw, that’s sad.
Tom: Imagine getting stuck with a name that tasted really bad
Mitch: Yeah but do you reckong that is what initially tastes like. That was his initial taste or d’you reckon over time. Like when you, after you hear your names so many times you kind of get a bit dull to it.
Tom: Got acclimatised to it
Mitch: Yeah acclimed to it. Do ya reckon that’s the reason?
Tom: I don’t know. Because like for example, he hears his dog bark, he must hear that a lot. Or maybe you know, it’s not an uncommon sound and it’s always runny custard. He did say in that article, which made me laugh is when he was a child in school, he used to pick a friend depending on how the name tasting. .
Mitch: . If you’ve got to do it, if you’re going to surround yourself, you want, you know, good tasting friends .
Tom: . And it was just like, that’s hilarious. Like he would actively dislike people if their name tasted bad and it just shows you like, you know, some people ask synaesthetes, what is it like having this extra sense, I guess or this distorted sense. And they’re like, well, you know it’s, it’s my reality it is their reality. Someone who sees colors when they hear sound is just what they do and this James Wannerton he said, how would he remember places or people without being able to taste them. And I guess it’s just an extra pathway for him to kind of figure out the world. And it’s what he’s always known and a lot of them say they wouldn’t get rid of it.
Mitch: Yeah. Well it’d be like, yeah, we’d be like, you’ve been like, oh, would you get rid of your sense of touch? Like to them, it’s an integral part of their experience as a human being.
Tom: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Exactly. Is a something, I found wholy interesting. And I spent far too long researching synesthesia.
Mitch: What different types as well as there’s like whoa. Yeah I think there’s like 10 different types that you can have.
Tom: Yeah, I did have about six written down here to go through and I was like, oh no, I need to need to cut it down a bit. I took loads out. There is one called Color-Graphium, which is insane and I can’t wrap my head around how it works. So this is where people see numbers and letters as given colors. So if you’re looking at the keyboard, a is green, s is blue, d is red, but every time you see an a, it is always green. Everywhere you see an S it is always blue.
Mitch: Would that be, you have to be like defined as colorblind then? Cause say that there was, there was like a red that uh, there was a red that was painted three. . There was a three that was painted red, uh, on a wall. And you identified that as blue, should he that could, that could set you up in certain situations.
Tom: I had this question and I actually managed to find the answer. I was watching a ted talk by this girl who had Color-Graphium synesthesia and she said what normally happens is say, you know, a word is written on a board, Typed up, they can tell you that they is written in black, it is written in a black font bit behind. It is like a really strong phantom color.
Mitch: Okay. So it’s like a, an aura if you will.
Tom: Yeah. You know when you’re in PowerPointif you’re using PowerPoint or word for the first time and you you got word art open. Remember that?
Mitch: I was going to say it’s more like if you stare at a, an object for too long and then you’re like you blur your eyes and move. There’s like a color behind it.
Tom: Yeah, yeah, exactly like that. So they can tell you the color of the writing, but behind it is really strongly associated. This phantom color. And this girl was saying it really made a really made her struggle with maths because when looking at Algebraic problems, instead of just seeing the Algebra, she had to also figure out all these different colors that were next to each other.
Mitch: Just, uh, I want just ask equal x equals blue.
Tom: Um, she actually had that, that’s how she discovered she had it. Cause you were like, oh well this is easy. Two plus two equals green. And everyone looked at her like, what the are you saying?
Mitch: Are you okay?
Tom: Um, yeah. So that was something I found very interesting. I’d not heard of before, but I just thought he can’t imagine it can you? Another thing I wanted to speak about was there’s an incredible ted talk and Google talk by a man called David Eagleman and he deals with sensory substitution and addition or expansion. And basically what he has done is he’s created a vest for deaf people that has a microphone on it and has 32 motors around this vest. And each motor is responsible for like a different pitch. So the audible hearing range of human hearing range is split up into lots of 32 different bins. For example and each motor response to each bin and he found that putting how having deaf people wear this vest and listen to people, they can figure out what is being said by this weird combination of buzzing around the body. They can actually start to understand and unlock the tool of not true hearing, but conversational hearing at least.
Mitch: Yeah, no. Um, having worked in a, um, a deaf college or, uh, Academy, do you kind of, um, don’t realize the disadvantage of someone that is deaf? There’s little things that hearing people take for granted. I can’t remember what it’s called, but there’s a scientific school of five hypothesis with learning language. Um, and one of them is like, just generally hearing it in the background. So say that you”re in a classroom, you’re doing maths, you’re learning, you’re doing maths, you’re thinking about it. But also you hearing other people talk about maths, you, other people, you hear other people working out the problems, your subconsciously taking that in learning things whilst you’re doing. Now imagine if you were locked in a box looking down at your paper and you didn’t have that external stimuli firing off. You didn’t have people chatting about stuff and you could only talk about it if you sign to someone. So it was really a very direct route and a lot of the learning difficulties comes from that. Like people don’t realize that that puts you at such an advantage just being able to subconsciously taking this data that’s constantly streaming in. Um, yeah. So that’s that kind of, I would like to see if that helps with that sort of situation because you’d be able to, they would be able to identify certain vibrations, meanings and things cause that’s like, imagine if you had a speaker and the speaker vibrates at a frequency can determines someone’s voice and they can do it accurately to the point where it sounds identical. Um, like you’re hearing us now, like, uh,
Tom: Yeah, I think like a classroom setting might be quite difficult because you got so much noise going on. However, picking out words, definitely from an individual speaker, they said they have had so much success and you might think it’s very difficult to learn, but the brain is so good at figuring out these things that you don’t do it consciously, you just start to learn it. Um, and the thing is with people who have lost a sense, for example, deaf people or blind people, the brain will very quickly use the section of the brain is not being used for is right sense. For example, the visual Cortex, if you’re blind, the visual cortex helps out the other senses. This is why when people, you know, they blindfold themselves very quickly, your other senses start to get a bit heightened. You can hear, you feel like you can hear better, you feel that you can smell a bit better. Yeah. That’s because your visual Cortex, uh, adapts very quickly to help out the other senses. And this vest kind of project can be used for more than just sensory substitution for the deaf. So it can also use, be used for navigation for the blind. So if they’re walking around and then maybe they’ve got it hooked up to their phone, it can just vibrate in front of them to go forward, left when they need to turn right when you need to turn. And that can be good even for people who don’t have any sensory disabilities. Uh, maybe if you’re driving in your car, you don’t want to glance over to the phone that you’ll, you’re vibrating on your left side of your chest. So you need, you know, you need to take the left, the next left for example.Um, he’s also kind of put this down to like a wrist watch so you can kind of sense vibrations on your wrist, but that’s a lot less motors. So a lot less, uh, sensitivity. Accuracy.
Mitch: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. Uh, I had a look at was different types of technology that can be put on the wrist watches. Um, so I think Google is developing the like risk watches that vibrate or even display which way to go so you don’t have to keep looking down at your phone. But Google was doing a lot of um, current projects to do with senses. So they’re currently walking, working on a project called …. I don’t. It’s spelt S O L I so i’m going to say SO-LI or SOL-I. Uh, which is called project SOLI which is a project that they’ve been working on for about four years now. And I really like when we’re doing this research, I remember watching the video that they just like, they showed off like four years ago and it’s all to do with a new radar technology that they have created. The reason why it’s so good is that it’s, it, it’s ultra compact and ultra sensitive. So it’s really good. It is. It comes in any an eight millimeter by 10 millimeter package for, that’s the size of like a micro SD and it can sense so much and so intricately like even if you like the way that they displayed it in the way the one they want to use it as like to obviously put it in their phones and use it for accessibility options like that is that if you run your finger along your other finger it would be able to sense everything is just by the vibrations and also by just the, that the slow movement and things like that. Like to turn up volume or if you wanted to unlock your phone you could just do like a key unlocking that gesture in front of your phone. Um, and things like that. And it opens up lots of accessibility options for people
Tom: That could tie in with Google glass and stuff like that. And having a completely hands free experience.
Mitch: Yes. So like say that you’ve got someone that struggles with their digits, their hands. Um, yeah, they could potentially have one that’s facing a surface and then instead of using their fingers to hold up the phone, they can then put the phone down and then use that surface that they close to, to then move around on the, on the, on the screen, like as those, there’s loads of applications for it. Um, yeah, a lot of ones that they show off aer purely like, oh, you can change the music, you can move a map round, using like your thumb sliding across your forefinger, like you can do that sort of stuff. But then it opens up a whole realm of possibilities for people that struggle with like new technology, which I’m very excited for.
Tom: Yeah and once they get this tech going, it’s just going to, as you say, completely open up stuff that we never thought of.
Mitch: Yeah. And the for things like tactile, pushing buttons with fingers and things like that there, I think they may be releasing with the new pixel 4 which comes out. Um, the end of this year, uh, I would, I would like to see it with that and you can sign up to be a developer now, but I would like to see a lot of more accessibility options for people because there isn’t enough as the phones are made for people that have, can hold in one hand and maybe use their thumbs and all that sort of stuff and struggle with like sensory things. Um, yeah.
Tom: It’s making it accessible to a wider audience isn’t it?
Mitch: Yep. I’ve fully tangented off into helping other people, but it comes down to senses. Um, yeah.
Tom: Uh, one of the additional, so the, going back to this best thing, um, is one of the things they have managed to use is so people with prosthetics who maybe like, I don’t have any leg below the knee or something like that. You know, they, it’s very awkward for them to get a sense of what that foot is doing, um, how their prosthetic is going to land on the ground. But they managed to attach angle sensors and pressure sensors to it and attach it to this vibrating vest. And it improved, uh, people with prosthetics walking immediately. They didn’t even need any training. They just kind of had a natural sense for it and they couldwalk far more naturally because they felt what their leg was doing.
Mitch: Yeah. You’d feel it. But there’s also the aspect of people don’t realize like clothes, like, uh, on trousers and like in the feet and all that sort of jazz. Like there’s movement there. There’s things that guide you that you probably wouldn’t realize that touching the skin
Tom: Yeah. That you don’t even think about. Uh, one of the reasons why I like this vest idea so much, it’s something he said in the talk. I mean, obviously he’s trying to sell it, but still, I think that’s a good point. Uh, um, the skin is the largest organ we have, but we don’t do anything with three quarters of it. So our hands, our face, our feet are severity sensitive to touch. But our chest, you know, we don’t do a lot with it, especially now that we wear clothes as a species. .
Mitch: . What you do on the weekends, mate if you go to beaches it’s on you,
Tom: So it’s a lot of other sensory substitutes. So there’s one that kind of uses a bit of radar technology that you were saying about and then tells the blind person where objects are on their tongue. It has like a sensor on their tongue, but then it restricts their ability to speak a lot of these technologies. Whilst they’re very good and very clever, they also restrict other senses. Um, one of the most exciting things, I’m excited for a potentially from this thing, which is I guess quite selfish. Um, have you seen ready player one?
Mitch: I haven’t no.
Tom: Okay. So in that it’s basically a film set in a virtual reality world, and they have what are called haptic suits where whatever happens to them in the virtual reality, they can feel, so if someone touches your left arm, you’d be able to feel it on your left arm. And they’ve started to develop that in a virtual reality mech-suit fighter that they’ve got that whatever happens to your mech suit happens to you, you can feel it. And they’re thinking this has got applications also for the real world and stuff like that. But one of the kind of fascinating things is outside of helping people with disabilities and senses, if the data is compressed correctly, you can use it in the vest and kind of learn any kind of like digital language, if that makes sense. So one of the experiments they did was they gave this guy a phone and he got vibrations and he had to make a choice left or right. I think it was red or blue. And he would choose each time and he got feedback on whether it was good or bad. And over the weeks he started to learn what vibrations were good and what I like, which ones pick what they didn’t tell him as he was making stock market buying and selling decisions. But towards the end of the experiment he started to learn just by the vibrations, what was a good decision and what was a bad decision. And they think this can apply to like pilots in big aircraft instead of looking at all the dials, you can feel what the plane is doing.
Mitch: Oh, that’d be interesting. Yeah.
Tom: Um, because you know our eyes, whilst they’re very good, they’re very central focused. We can look at what’s going on in the middle of our vision. We can look at one gauge in the cockpit at a time, but if we could feel the pitch and the yaw of an aircraft instead of looking at all the sensors, we’d be much more adequate at fine.
Mitch: Yeah. I’d imagine there’d have to be like a cut off. Like if there’s some turbulence you wouldn’t want like arm being crushed by the wing.
Tom: Going into an absolute fit. Yeah.
Mitch: We can throw it around the cabin.
Tom: Well, I imagine a, if they’re making this for consumer, they wouldn’t turn the sensitivity of that high.
Mitch: There’s some game aspects of that. They swear they, if they’ve already done or they were already attempted to do and it’s the feeling of like if you to get shot in a, in a video game and like compresses the chest piece. +
Tom: Oh yeah.
Mitch: Yeah. There’s that.
Tom: That’d be interesting. But being an asthmatic, uh, I don’t know how well that would go for me or how quickly downhill that might go especially in virtual reality I’m pretending to run.
Mitch: . Yeah. Well I think like even to the point of like racing games, if you were to create a virtual headset or suit, you could simulate g force just by like compressing on one side of your body. So you’d like the g force on the car accelerating and be like, oh, okay. Yeah. That’s cool.
Tom: Yeah, that’s cool. This suit could also has the, or something like this. We also have the chance for sensory enhancement. So rather than addition or substitution, like scent again for example, imagine, you know, a police officer has a scent detector. It’s very sensitive to different smells and it could tell him, you know, where to find it. You wouldn’t need to bring a dog out to the job then. Do you know what I mean?
Mitch: Yeah. Well that was, that was that lady that couldn’t smell was dementia. That she could smell inpeople.
Mitch: Yeah. There was, uh, this, this, uh, this lady that could smell it was over like Alzheimers or dementia.
Tom: That’s weird. I’ve not heard of that!
Mitch: Parkinson’s, that’s what it was. She could smell Parkinson’s before it, Eh, um, presented itself. Like, so
Tom: I wonder what Parkinson smells like.
Mitch: Yeah. But, uh, no one believed her until she was like, yeah, I can smell it. It was, it was going to happen. But then they did tests with her, like blind tests and told her to smell a bunch of people who were…
Tom: That’s a bit weird isn’t it?
Mitch: like early onset Parkinson’s or just where they’ve been diagnoses and it hasn’t presented yet. Um, and obviously had through some people that didn’t have it and she managed to smell at the time she smelled seven out of the eight correct. And then she was adamant they’d be eight part of the eighth person. Definitely was it. And it turns out about two years later that they then had the symptoms of it and she was, like I said, I said this person was so, yeah.
Tom: Wow. That’s incredible. I wonder how that worked.
Mitch: Yeah, I should. Yeah.
Tom: You get some stories like that and you’re just like, is that, is that, is that real? Maybe we are in the Truman show. Maybe.
Mitch: Apparently she claimed she other things she’s shown displayed other things, but she could as a nurse, cause that’s where she came from. She like. Claimed that she could, she trained herself as a nurse to be able to smell the different, like, uh, ailments that were going on. Like, um, she said that apparently Alzheimer’s smells like vanilla with a dark side. I was like that.
Tom: That’s what that’s, that’s way to describe it.
Mitch: Yeah. Yeah.
Tom: She must have a super sensitive nose.
Mitch: Yeah. There must be something given off for her to be able to sense that.
Tom: Oh, yeah, there must be, I mean, I dunno, I wouldn’t know what else to say, but surely if that was the case, there would be some research done on that and they’d be like, they’d be able to tell you they would create a machine or a detector, which can tell you if you had Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s three years before anyone else would know. I dunno, crazy. Craziness. So from craziness. We can jump to a bit more craziness with just going off the wall a little bit I think.
Mitch: Okay. As usual,
Tom: Uh, if you could add one other sense, if you could have a sixth sense, for example, what would it be? And it could be a real one or a fake one or,
Mitch: Ooh, an extra sense?
Mitch: That is a very big question to ask someone on the fly as per usual with these questions are,
Tom: Well, at least I didn’t ask you to define a sense out right this time. . I thought oh I’ll let you get, I’ll let you go this week.
Mitch: What is, what is consciousness? Um, i dunno actually I would like to try out, uh, having the, um, electro receptors I knwo that it wouldn’t work, hypothetically, if it worked in the air, I know it doesn’t it only works in salt water because that’s how ions work. Um, but I would like the idea of being able to like sense movement or sense like the electrical movement. But I guess that if, if you could sense that in the air, you’d be like, oh, I know that there’s a, a plug turned on in the corner that was making the buzzing noise. Like I, yeah, I’m not gonna say
Tom: But surely you woulddesensitized to that. You know, like you, like you desensitize to the clothes on your skin. You don’t feel them all the time unless you think about it.
Mitch: Uh, I don’t know because if you, you could says like Jerry down the road, like has turned off his car battery because you’d be able to sense it at a thousand miles. Yeah. So I don’t, I don’t know. I would like to, if I could change any, I’ll probably change my ears because I suffer from tinnitus and it sucks. Um, so probably like change hearing to, like sensing
Tom: Better hearing or?
Mitch: yeah, maybe. Or just a different kind.
Tom: Okay, that’s interesting. I was thinking maybe electrogenesis. So you went for reception. I was thinking of production
Mitch: Are you going to zap peoeple?
Tom: Because it would be absolutely hilarious just to go round like zapping people who annoyed you like, do you know what I mean?
Mitch: Go to shake someone’s hand and have like the buzzer.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. You’d be the world’s worst superhero because you couldn’t do anything above a couple of hundred volts. Yeah.
Mitch: And its not the voltage that kills people, its the amps.
Tom: Oh, well, there you go see, I didn’t even know you can call me amp man. See me Avengers 5. So something coming back to electric genesis is scientists don’t know how these animals don’t electrocute themselves. Something they still haven’t figured out is how an electric eel doesn’t get affected by its own electricity. So I’m figuring since they think maybe they create like a membrane of ions around them, but I can’t do that with water. So every time I went to do it, I would just kill myself. So that’d be the possibly the world’s worst one. I always say something like, you know, super hearing or, but then you’ve got ended up hearing loads of conversations you don’t want to hear.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I would like the idea of being able to accurately feel like organs and stuff. Because if you could then, if you could accurately feel them i would think that you could like, uh, change them and move them and stuff and affects them
Tom: Organs, you say?
Mitch: Yeah organs, like internals. So if you had the ability to identify what like moving one particular muscle is by feeling it. Via touch.
Tom: Ohh, so you’d have like ultra precision ultra control.
Mitch: Yeah, that’d be cool.
Tom: Get rid of my shaky hands like
Mitch: Yeah. Like if you had a sore shoulder because like you’ve hurt muscles, you’d be able to like feel it and know what particular thing is being able to like work through here, if that makes sense.
Tom: Yeah. Yeah, that’d be interesting. That’d be pretty cool. I think thermal imaging or heat vision would be sick,
Mitch: Just turn into the, uh, the Predator from AVP was like just eyes just light up
Tom: like God what’s happening to you and just sit there staring at people with a really bright eyes. But if it worked like snakes and you can only see a meter in front of you. I don’t know how useful that might actually be and more terrifying. You come around a corner in your house with the lights off at night and if someone else is there. Yeah, absolutely. Scare itself.
Mitch: Yeah, well I think you would scared yourself anyway to be honest. If there is someone in your house. .
Tom: True. Oh , I meant, I meant, it there was like, you know, someone else downstairs, like who’s meant to be there?
Mitch: Oh I thought you mean like someone was breaking into your house. . I was like, yeah Tom, I would be terrified if there was a randomer in my house on I saw them.
Tom: Oh no, there’s me like people breaking into the house. I’m just like walking through going alright, want a cuppa tea? So I think we are pretty much coming up to the hour if not over it now. So a couple of notifications before we move on and off. Have you got anything else to add? Mitch, anything you haven’t covered you would like to talk about?
Mitch: Um, no I think that that’s it from me.
Tom: Amazing. So the conduct science podcast is moving from a Saturday to a Thursday release. Um, so the next time you hear us it will be on Thursday and also I recorded a shorter solo podcast called the method section, which will be coming out on Fridays and that’s more geared towards actually how to conduct science. Since here we tangent a lot but that’s what we’re good at. I enjoy it. If you guys want to check out all the latest goings on, you can go to conduct science.com. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching @conductscience. And if you have any questions, please use the #AskConductScience or get in touch with us on any of these platforms. If you want to suggest a topic or suggest a guest, we are all ears. Next week we are going to be talking about climate change, but that’s it from me. And from Mitchell.
Mitch: I’ll see you guys next week.
Tom: And we’ll see you guys. A-next time.