See With Your Tongue, and a Tribute to Slashdot

How’d you like to have eyes in the back of your head?  Soon, U.S.
soldiers may be able to “see” through their tongues by attaching
microelectrodes to the underrated organ.  Electrical impulses
could then be sent to the brain “to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.”  They say it makes your tongue feel like you’re eating Pop Rocks!  You can see pictures of the plastic devices that are the culmination of  research begun about half a century ago. 

They say it’s like you feel the shape of an image.  I’m sure that
might sound to you like it wouldn’t be much, but apparently blind
people have used these devices to see doors and people and even catch
things, so apparently they’re pretty effective.  Users have said
it’s unlike anything they’ve ever experienced, so it would be hard to
put into words.  In the past, other parts of human skin were used,
but none were as effective as the tongue–it provides a much more
direct connection to your brain (or faster, I suppose).  So a
camera might be aimed behind you, and it would send signals through
your tongue so you could essentially process information about the
objects to your rear.  Or you might be hooked up to an infrared
camera for night vision and be able to see in the dark without bulky
nightvision goggles.  Other information could be sent to your
brain as well, so Navy SEAL divers might not have to lug around an
underwater compass or sonar device anymore. 

Someone posted the article on Slashdot,
an immensely popular website for geeks.  It’s so popular that when
all these Slashdot subscribers visit the websites that are being linked
to, the smaller websites tend to temporarily crash under the weight of
all the traffic.  When a site gets overloaded like that, they say
the website has been slashdotted
Dozens of technical and scientific news topics are posted on Slashdot
every day, and each topic usually gets either hundreds or even
thousands of comments from Slashdot subscribers.  I won’t bore you
with the details, but from a sociological perspective, it’s fascinating
how the system works because some comments are voted more worthy than
others through an elaborate system of temporarily making some
subscribers moderators for a few days, and these moderators are kept in
check by meta-moderators.  It would cool to see more
communities like this for other topics besides just technical and
scientific articles, because you can get so much more
from this system than from merely reading just a CNN or BBC news
article about something like euthanasia or smoking pot or the mating habits of koala bears. 

The reason I think it would be interesting is because, believe it or
not, you can often learn quite a bit from the more insightful
comments.  Granted, a lot of the comments on that particular
article were
“modded” as Funny because no self-respecting geek is going to resist
joking about other uses for the tongue, and besides that, plenty of
them are excited about using this technology for better video
games (e.g. virtual reality a la the Matrix).  But on other
topics, you’d be surprised how much some of
these geeks know about any sort of topic under the sun.  For
example, when some U.S. laws came into question, plenty of people
foolishly failed to hide their ignorance, but plenty of others gave
excellent explanations of the nitty gritty confusing aspects, and many
would compare the letter of the law here to what it is in other
countries. 

Ok, I know this might sound boring…Slashdot must be experienced to be
understood.  But I realize that could make you a bit more geeky,
so go easy…

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11 Responses to “See With Your Tongue, and a Tribute to Slashdot”

  1. we were just reading about that….

  2. Do you think all the images would taste like chicken?

  3. I never knew you were a nerd! 😉

  4. thats amazing and totally weird

  5. I think I remember you telling me and a certain roommate about Slashdot, and we just looked at you in utter disbelief…:)

  6. I read that on yahoo news and but i wish i had read it on slashdot.

  7. i’m not sure how i feel about this. i think this is the cause of my recent nightmares.  maybe i’m just too visual.  something is just not right.  makes me cringe a little. 

  8. but it was 84 the day before!

  9. that’s amazing.  i recently became addicted to ‘alias’ so i can kind of imagine a device like that now… i find myself asking, ‘would sydney bristow use something like that?’ probably.  sometimes i want to be sydney bristow.  sometimes i am.

  10. i actually check out slashdot once in a while (once a month or so) just to keep up with camilo’s habit a bit and be able to discuss it with him.  i like reading through the comments.  you’re right – a lot of those guys (and girls…) know a lot about a lot of things.

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