Science Fiction Happening Now
Bionic people? Yeah, we’re working on that.
Check out the book I’m reading, We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time by Kara Platoni.
I’m on the third chapter, Vision. Platoni starts the chapter with the man who has “the Model T” eye. He’s one of a few people in a medical clinical trial with an electronic eye implant that helps him see. He only sees black, white, gray, and flashes of light, but that’s more than he could see for the prior 17 years.
Since I’m not in the field, I didn’t know a fifth taste had been identified and added to the four I knew. Besides sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, we also have umami or savory. (School kids may know this now, but the newest sense became official long after I got out of school.) That’s in the Taste chapter. Platoni has chapters on the five basic senses, then moves on to what she calls the Metasensoory Perception – time, pain, and emotion.
Her final section, Hacking Perception, moves firmly into the world that once was only in science fiction. She discusses virtual reality, augmented reality, and new senses. People have augmented their senses for centuries with devices – glasses and watches are a good example. Here we will find the people who go further – watch out for those bionic people I mentioned.
I’m only about a quarter of the way through this, but We Have the Technology is fascinating. If you want to see science fiction becoming real science, read Kara Platoni’s book.
(And yes, I do read some nonfiction.)