I dream of a public room filled with devices that let you see what is normally invisible: acoustic camera, thermal camera, microscope, telescope, endoscope, ultrasound, high-speed camera, hyperspectral camera, schlieren imaging (airflow), cloud chamber (particle traces)... It would cost millions but would expand minds HARD yo.
Note that this isn't exactly the same as getting more information.
Consider how terrible it would be if you were suddenly granted the ability to nitrogen gas: You would blindly stumble around in a dense fog before being eaten by a predator you never saw coming. Good filtering can almost be more important than good sensors.
I think that's also a great argument in favor of false-color/hyperspectral images of other planets: Why limit ourselves to the arbitrary wavelengths that were "chosen" just for Earth's atmosphere?
Human color-sense is arbitrary in that it exists for light from a particular star filtering through a particular chemical medium and illuminating stuff that is of particular interest to us and which is detectable by our particular biological tools.
Heck, even our cosmically-close sibling-species have different perceptions, like flowers and insects that use ultraviolet signals and detection. Or animals that can easily detect light polarization.
That's a pretty popular kind of star. I believe stars have surface temperature from 3K to 10K, corresponding to a pretty narrow range of black body radiation. Then it's mostly unaffected by that chemical medium, save for some scattering.
Yes, we could see some IR and UF, but that wouldn't expand that spectrum dramatically. Visible light occupies a tiny part of total EM spectrum, so expanding it arithmetically still leaves you with a tiny subset.
Humans are actually quite good at seeing light polarization. I can easily do that with my laptop screen. I've found no use for it, though.
Truly impressive when the video shows them simultaneously self locating the camera, 3d scanning the object, and gathering an audio profile at the same time. Extremely clever use of SLAM. And the droppper tool that lets you listen to each sound produced in specific areas. I used to work with phased array ultrasound so seeing similar concepts applied to non-ultra sonic applications is astounding.
This was so cool, I really want to see this (and thermal, and...) integrated into devices so we get the full tricorder thing going on.
I hadn't considered acoustics being a whole class of use case for maintenance, but imagine if we had one of these in our pockets how much better our built environment would get, since everyone would be able to see issues & point them out. Visualizing the invisible is a powerful way to get change.
Also that train wheel example was a real missed opportunity to say 'squeaky wheel gets the oil'.
Yes. Some blind people report being able to see things with sound and MRI scans show their visual cortex lighting up [1,2,3]. A 2019 paper  showed that the visual cortex of a blind echolocating person is lighting up in a comparable way to that of a sighted person.
All my life I’ve left the lights off if I get up during the night. I sneeze like crazy at bright lights so I leave them off to avoid waking myself up at 3am. I swear I’ve developed some kind of echolocation sensitivity in the process.
For what it’s worth, for me, it’s not much different than moving around my various places with my eyes.
Like most people, when I see an obstruction with my eyes I don’t train my eyes on it and make a conscious decision to avoid it, I just “avoid it”. And when I know I need to go through a door, or down a hallway, it just kinda happens as if i had seen it with my own eyes. I don’t over concentrate on it any more than I would if the lights were on and I could see clearly.
The only “image” navigational image in my brain is an original Wolf3D screenshot.
It’s the same when I get up at night, even in a strange place. The shuffling of my feet on the floor is the sound I use fwiw.
Dune is "science fiction" insofar as it takes place on a desert planet with space worms and space travel is a thing. In reality it's a deep critique on the foundation and evolution of religion not to mention the nature of familial relationships.
Given the heady topics, and deeply layered study into human nature, I personally forgive the "because magic"
As a linguist, I liked the novel but I totally agree the "first contact" aspect is pretty shoddy. The microbes magic is like a necessary evil to explain why we suddenly can (and must) go interstellar.
The story also includes some "unaddressed magic", like how come Rocky find Grace "at" (orbiting) Tau Ceti? Like we would instantly detect an alien space ship entering "our solar system" because "we're there too".
The Expanse novels & series and Hail Mary have ruined me for fantasy-science-fiction. I love the idea of having one big conceit and then building a universe that is as consistent as possible with everything from known physics to known sociology and psychology given that conceit.
For the expanse it was fusion drives and the protomolecule. For Hail Mary it was astrophage.
Just like the magical linguistic tools of Hail Mary, the Expanse broke this a bit too with things like spinning up the asteroids without ripping them apart. But, these are still two of the best hard science fiction out there. Sorry Cixin, Remembrance of Earth's Past was fantastic but it quickly devolved into fantasy.
One note, I always thought the spinning up asteroids part of The Expanse was particularly unfortunate because the plot would have worked just as well with giant spinning stations on the asteroid surfaces to let the belters live in limited gravity.
Is Steve okay? He looks like he's just come off a 3 day bender. Not saying that's why he looks the way he does, but that's just my most familiar reference. Otherwise, my arm chair medical diagnosis turns to something else and like webMD just jump to cancer.
I like his content whenever it's linked, so I hope he's just "tired"