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Devices to Extend Your Senses

by Ron Kurtus (updated 18 May 2023)

Your senses consist of a very narrow band in what is possible. But there are devices that help people sense things beyond their capabilities or limitations.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Narrow band of what is possible

Each of our senses needs a certain amount to energy to work properly. Light must be a certain brightness to see and sound must be loud enough to hear. The pressure on our skin must be great enough to feel.

In some cases, the sense must be sensitive enough to detect changes. The skin must be sensitive enough to detect the any difference in temperature--hot or cold. If there is a 6th sense, it must be sensitive enough in a person to detect the small signals it receives to work.

The sense of sight and hearing are also limited to the wavelengths or frequencies of the signal. For example, you can't hear very high or very low frequencies of sound. Also, there is a range of chemicals that you can taste or smell.

In many of these cases, devices have been invented to do the job for humans.

Human physical senses

There are inventions or devices that can extend the human physical senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, pressure, temperature and gravity.

Sight devices

Our sight is limited to the visible spectrum and certain brightness levels. Some devices used to extend our ability to see are detectors that see wavelengths beyond human capabilities.

Hearing devices

Our hearing is limited by the range of pitches we can hear and the loudness of the sound. Some devices used to extend our to hear are:

Smelling devices

Our smelling capability is limited to a certain number of chemical compounds in the air. There are devices that can detect smell that we cannot.

Taste devices

While smell concerns compounds in the air, taste requires direct contact with the compound--usually in a solution. There are many chemical devices to detect various compounds that go well beyond what the human tongue can detect. For example, litmus paper can tell if a compound is acidic or base.

(Do you have other examples?)

Touch or pressure devices

The human skin can detect the pressure of touch, but there are devices that are much more sensitive to the pressure cause by an object than the skin is. For example, there are scales that can measure the weight or pressure caused by small insects that a human could not detect.

(Do you have other examples?)

Temperature devices

The human skin can detect hot and cold, but it seems relative to the environment. We have invented devices that go beyond our capabilities. For example, thermometers can measure temperature beyond the human's "hot" or "cold" and to a greater degree of accuracy.

Gravity devices

The inner ear detects the orientation of gravity. There are many devices that can easily detect the direction of gravity and are more sensitive than the human inner ear.

Other senses

There are other senses that animals have and that people may have. There are inventions to detect or senses some of these forms of energy.

Magnetic field devices

Some birds can detect the Earth's magnetic field. It doesn't seem like people can detect such fields, but we have invented magnetometer to detect and measure magnetic fields. Another simple detector of the Earth's magnetic field is the compass.

Electrical field devices

Sharks and eels detect electrical fields. It doesn't seem like people can detect these fields, but we have invented electrometers to detect and measure electric fields.

Mental or psychic field devices

As far as I know, no devices have been invented that will detect mental or psychic fields. That may be an indication that either the interpretation of them is incorrect or that such fields do not exist.


Humans have invented devices that extend their abilities to sense the world around them. Often we take these devices for granted, but we should realize that they are extending the communication of the world to us.

Expand your horizons

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Senses topics

Devices to Extend Your Senses

Senses topics

Basics of senses

Standard five senses







Added senses


6th Sense

Electrical fields

Magnetic fields

Gravity field

Other possible senses

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