For once, imagine being able to take photos with your eyes and send it to a friend, without using a device. Accessing the internet with only a tap on your wrist or having artificial limbs that surpass the power of real ones. Welcome to the future world of cyborgs. These concepts are not new to science fiction movies, comics, books and computer games. Prominent examples of playing with the concept of cyborgs, defined as cybernetic organisms incorporating both organic and synthetic parts in their bodies, are “Star Wars” with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (artificial limbs and various body parts), or “RoboCop” (new synthetic body).
Imagine if you could see with your tongue or instead, taste what you see. Our perception of the surrounding environment would change dramatically if this was to be true and surprisingly this idea is not as unrealistic as you might think. What if I were to tell you that “everything is programmable,” or will be soon. Our bodies and our world can be programmed to any desired specification. This may sound like science fiction but examples of this can be found in nature. The Synsepalum dulcificum, aka “Miracle Fruit,” a West African berry is able to temporarily reprogram your taste buds to make anything sour or bitter taste perfectly sweet, a simple example of a sensory substitute.
In general, bad connections are bad news. Think for instance of a slow internet connection, or a bad phone network. However, this is not the case in the human brain, where slower connections may make people more creative.