As we all know, there are five basic human senses, but this doesn't mean there could not be many more. One of the senses that we don't have magnetoception: the ability to perceive magnetic fields. Some bacteria, migratory birds, fish and some invertebrates use this skill to have a better sense of direction. A new artificial skin technology might be able to give humans magnetoception in the future.
Researcher Michael Melzer, at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, recently published a paper, describing the new technology. The skin is equipped with sensors that are able to perceive dynamic and static magnetic fields. Sensors are produced from layers of cobalt and copper with film coating and they are hooked up to LED indicators. Whenever the skin is nearby a magnetic field, sensors transmit this information to LED lights to indicate the distance.
The skin thickness is about one-fifth of a human hair and it is incredibly light-weight. The construction of the sensors give them high flexibility and they are able to function even when they are crumpled. All these features make the skin implant suitable to be used by humans. When the new skin is developed, it can be applied in biomedical implants in order to detect anomalies and improve motor skills of these implants.
Story and image via IFLScience
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Actually, there are more than 5 senses. We have, in no particular order: Sight, taste, touch, pressure, itch, thermoception, sound, smell, proprioception, tension, nociception, equilibrioception, stretch receptors, chemoceptors, thirst, hunger, magnetoception (this article is also wrong, studies have shown we have a modicum of magnetoception), and, arguably, chronoception. That's 17-18 senses!