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Ultrasound blasts endow your brain with sensory superpowers

•, Michael Trei
 Still, if you think about it, being able to detect subtle differences between various tactile stimuli could be really useful. Blind people who can read Braille with their fingers certainly have this ability, so imagine if you could combine that level of super sensitive touch with normal vision.

Researchers at Virginia Tech's Carilion Research Institute have been experimenting with how blasting a very confined area of the cerebral cortex can enhance a person's sense of touch, but it doesn't really work the way you might think. With the additional brain stimulus, the electrical signals racing through the body's nervous system are actually reduced in level, but the result is a signal that may be weaker, but actually more focussed.

The scientists conducted two tests using the hands of several subjects. One would measure their ability to perceive two points touching the skin as two distinct stimuli, while the other measured the subject's ability to notice subtle changes in the rate of a pulsating air jet blowing on the skin. In both tests, the test subjects performed better when the ultrasound was being applied than when it was removed.

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