October 04, 2008
Skin Vision

An Israeli scientist is claiming people can see with their skin. Unfortunately, exactly how this is supposed to work is not explained in the article.

Posted by scott at October 04, 2008 07:24 AM

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Actually this has been known for some time. People can feel warmth caused by electromagnetic radiation on the surface of their skin, but with a much lower resolution than their eyes can detect. Without the focusing the lens, iris, and sealed chamber of an eye provides, any "image" picked up by the skin is hopelessly blurred. We can feel which direction the light is coming from, but that's about it.

There have been experiments done that indicate the blind may be able to see through their skin, but they require an atrificial eye carefully strapped to their bodies. Even then, it only works on the completely blind, due to the relative lack of sensitivity. The brain will rely on even the faintest signal from the optic nerve before it will adapt to the most carefully focused signals received from the skin.

So yeah, it's possible to see through the skin, it's just not as big a deal as some might think. As the commenter pointed out, if this guy had any real breakthrough, why did he go to the press with it first?

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on October 6, 2008 08:28 AM
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