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Biotech Science

Seeing With Your Skin? 138

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head dept.
Iddo Genuth writes to tell us that a researcher from Tel Aviv University is exploring the possibility that humans may be able to "see" via their skin. Professor Leonid Yaroslavsky hopes to utilize this possible technology to find solutions for the blind in addition to new types of image capture that might be able to work where conventional lenses fail. Unfortunately he has a long uphill battle ahead to convince others that his theories are possible. "The lenses currently used for optics-based imaging have many problems. They only work within a limited range of electromagnetic radiation. Relatively, these are still costly devices greatly limited by weight and field of view. The imaging Professor Yaroslavsky has in mind has no lenses and he believes the devices can be adapted to any kind of radiation and wavelength. They could essentially work with a 360-degree field of view and their imaging capability will only be determined by computer power rather than the laws of light diffraction."
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Seeing With Your Skin?

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:24PM (#25251171) Homepage Journal

    As a vision scientist, my eyebrows are raised. I am highly skeptical for a variety of really, very good reasons...

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:31PM (#25251253)
    I have read your comments before and can infer that you're very good in your field. You have pretty cool monitors anyway. My question is this: _Assuming_ that it is possible to "see" with skin, my guess would be that the 'resolution' would be the limiting factor. Obviously the skin can detect many wavelengths of light--I am having trouble jumping from this thought to the thought of the skin resolving those sensations into an image. You, rightly I think, say that you're skeptical, but you don't expand on any of your "very good reasons". I, for one, would love to hear some of these very good reasons (seriously).
  • by Psychotria (953670) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:34PM (#25251275)
    He said he was skeptical. All good scientists must be skeptical. It has nothing to do with having "faith in your fellow scientists".
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:39PM (#25251313) Homepage Journal

    Obviously the skin can detect many wavelengths of light--I am having trouble jumping from this thought to the thought of the skin resolving those sensations into an image.

    Blind people seem to be able to do that with braile. Maybe a pattern of bumps can work in a similar way to a pattern of warm spots on the skin.

  • by philspear (1142299) on Friday October 03, 2008 @05:32PM (#25251717)

    Actually it should: science doesn't work through faith. The word or untested hypotheses of even the most distinguished scientists isn't good for anything besides deciding what to test next. If Stephen Hawkings said Hawkin's radiation leaks out slightly faster from black holes than he thought and didn't offer proof, there would be plenty of people who would investigate I'm sure, but it wouldn't be accepted as more than conjecture, even though it's named after him.

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Friday October 03, 2008 @05:51PM (#25251871)
    I agree 100%; it's exactly what I was saying. You have to be skeptical. Reputation goes a long way, but it would be foolhardy to accept something that someone says based on their reputation -- no matter how good their reputation is. Being skeptical is part of the bargain and necessary. "Necessary" is probably too light a word. Without skepticism everything falls apart.
  • by J Story (30227) on Friday October 03, 2008 @06:33PM (#25252215) Homepage

    Further, I would say that being open to criticism and being able to accept that, move on and improve (based on the criticism) separates the mediocre from the brilliant. It doesn't matter how much knowledge you have. We all make mistakes and we all overlook things. We all say silly things now and again.

    This is what makes the "science" of Global Warming so frustrating. Criticism or scepticism is anathema, and we hear the constant chant that "the debate is over". Real science thrives on argument and experiments, and not on ad hominem attacks.

  • by philspear (1142299) on Friday October 03, 2008 @07:21PM (#25252563)

    Well, that's because it's no longer an academic question. SOME of the skepticism is "economically motivated" and therefore impossible to satisfy. There's also the factor of "if it's right, then waiting until it's a fact will be too late." As someone who won't lose money directly from cutting our use of fossil fuels, of course I'm going to say we should cut them now and potentially have done it for nothing than not cut them now and wish we had.

    The science of global warming is now only used as a bat in the debate because there are larger issues.

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