Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Scroll to top


Evolving The Use Of Senses Trend

Evolving The Use Of Senses Trend

| On 12, Apr 2018

Darrell Mann

The ‘Increasing Use Of Senses’ Trend has been a longstanding member of the family. The main reason for its inclusion is to remind users of the five basic (‘VAKOG’) human senses (Figure 1), and to think about whether any that are currently not being used within or around a system could usefully be introduced to add new value.

Figure 1: The Five ‘VAKOG’ Human Senses

We’ve always tended to restrict ourselves to this core of five senses because they are the most frequently used (and ‘usable’) when engineering systems. Or at least systems designed to interact with human or other life-forms. It’s always been known that there are many other senses, but it has only recently become meaningful to list them in the intended context of the Trends. Now, we can increasingly make use of two distinct forms of ‘senses’. The first are what we might choose to label the ‘extended’ senses – senses that we can see tangible evidence of within the natural world, The second, now being made possible by the interactions between different systems (natural and engineered), are what we might think of as an emerging class of ‘meta-senses’. Let’s have a look at both of them in more detail. Starting with the ‘Extended’ Senses:

The Fifty Four ‘Self-Evident’ Natural Senses and Sensitivities (Reference 1)

The Radiation Senses

1. Sense of light and sight, including polarized light.
2. Sense of seeing without eyes such as heliotropism or the sun sense of plants.
3. Sense of color.
4. Sense of moods and identities attached to colors.
5. Sense of awareness of one’s own visibility or invisibility and consequent camouflaging.
6. Sensitivity to radiation other than visible light including radio waves, X rays, etc.
7. Sense of Temperature and temperature change.
8. Sense of season including ability to insulate, hibernate and winter sleep.
9. Electromagnetic sense and polarity which includes the ability to generate current (as in the nervous system and brain waves) or other energies.

The Feeling Senses

10. Hearing including resonance, vibrations, sonar and ultrasonic frequencies.
11. Awareness of pressure, particularly underground, underwater, and to wind and air.
12. Sensitivity to gravity.
13. The sense of excretion for waste elimination and protection from enemies.
14. Feel, particularly touch on the skin.
15. Sense of weight, gravity and balance.
16. Space or proximity sense.
17. Coriolus sense or awareness of effects of the rotation of the Earth.
18. Sense of motion. Body movement sensations and sense of mobility.

The Chemical Senses

19. Smell with and beyond the nose.
20. Taste with and beyond the tongue.
21. Appetite or hunger for food, water and air.
22. Hunting, killing or food obtaining urges.
23. Humidity sense including thirst, evaporation control and the acumen to find water or evade a flood.
24. Hormonal sense, as to pheromones and other chemical stimuli.

The Mental Senses

25. Pain, external and internal.
26. Mental or spiritual distress.
27. Sense of fear, dread of injury, death or attack.
28. Procreative urges including sex awareness, courting, love, mating, maternity, paternity and raising young.
29. Sense of play, sport, humor, pleasure and laughter.
30. Sense of physical place, navigation senses including detailed awareness of land and seascapes, of the positions of the sun, moon and stars.
31. Sense of time and rhythm.
32. Sense of electromagnetic fields.
33. Sense of weather changes.
34. Sense of emotional place, of community, belonging, support, trust and thankfulness.
35. Sense of self including friendship, companionship, and power.
36. Domineering and territorial sense.
37. Colonizing sense including compassion and receptive awareness of one’s fellow creatures, sometimes to the degree of being absorbed into a superorganism.
38. Horticultural sense and the ability to cultivate crops, as is done by ants that grow fungus, by fungus who farm algae, or birds that leave food to attract their prey.
39. Language sense, used to express feelings and convey information in every medium from the bees’ dance to uniquely human articulation, stories and literature.
40. Sense of humility, appreciation, ethics.
41. Senses of form and design.
42. Sense of reason, including memory and the capacity for logic and science.
43. Sense of mind and consciousness.
44. Intuition or subconscious deduction.
45. Aesthetic sense, including creativity and appreciation of beauty, music, literature, form, design and drama.
46. Psychic capacity such as foreknowledge, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychokinesis, astral projection and possibly certain animal instincts and plant sensitivities.
47. Sense of biological and astral time, awareness of past, present and future events.
48. The capacity to hypnotize other creatures.
49. Relaxation and sleep including dreaming, meditation, brain wave awareness.
50. Sense of pupation including cocoon building and metamorphosis.
51. Sense of excessive stress and capitulation.
52. Sense of survival by joining a more established organism.
53. Spiritual sense, including conscience, capacity for sublime love, ecstasy, a sense of sin, profound sorrow and sacrifice.
54. Sense of homeostatic unity, of natural attraction aliveness as the singular essence-diversity attraction dance of all our other senses


One of the beautiful things about the inter-connected, inter-dependent planet we all now inhabit, is that the inter-connections between systems begin to open up access to what we might think of as ‘meta-senses’.

Ask many people for their opinion about the most important innovations of the last couple of decades and GPS is likely to be one of the first answers you here. Rarely do innovations grow to become so ubiquitous in such a short period of time. Now we all know where we (and those near and dear to us) are on the planet. This is much more than any kind of natural sensing of Coriolis forces or the Earth’s magnetic field. Geo-location is all about knowing coordinates. And once we know the coordinates of one place, we can ‘know’ how to navigate from that place to the next. Geo-location is what we might think of as a ‘meta-sense’. As is ‘geo-navigation’. As is knowing when your future perfect life-partner is currently in the café down the road. And knowing what his or her favourite drink might be.

Figure 2: Geo-Location As A Meta-Sense

The ultimate point of these extended and meta senses is that it is increasingly important that prospective innovators extend their portfolio of search options. We’ve consequently extended the Use Of Senses Trend to look like the graphic shown in Figure 3.

We’re not so sure about the left-to-right sequence of the new form of the Trend. The emergence of the meta-senses, for example, may well mean that it is much easier for an innovator to add a meta-sense to their solution than, say, adding a gustatory feedback loop. In which case the seventh stage of the Trend might be reached before the fifth. The sequence shown in the Figure, however, probably does the best job of at least defining a search sequence – start with the VAKOG senses; then the extended list, then the meta-senses.

Figure 3: Re-Thinking The ‘Use Of Senses’ Trend