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Author Topic: Could a person see X-rays?  (Read 13285 times)

Offline Voxx

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Could a person see X-rays?
« on: 23/06/2012 04:14:15 »
Now correct me if i'm wrong, but the eye is only the reciprocal for the electromagnetic waves and our brain interprets them in the visible light spectrum?

So would it be possible for someone to be born seeing in X-Ray's instead of the visible light spectrum?  "Theoretically" of course.
« Last Edit: 23/06/2012 08:43:09 by chris »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Seeing In X-Ray's?
« Reply #1 on: 23/06/2012 05:46:26 »
The skin, of course, can give the sensation of warmth from absorbing sunlight, as well as produce Vitamin D and Melanin with sunlight.

There are a few creatures with a third, very primitive eye.

Humans use beta carotene to make retinal for vision, however, the Dragon Fish actually absorbs chlorophyll as a primary element for vision.  There is also a green sea slug that retains chloroplasts from algae, and once it ingests enough algae, it can start its on photosynthesis and no longer needs to eat.

Some fish and snakes can see infrared and/or ultraviolet.  Perhaps aiding night vision and heat seeking abilities. 

Anyway, as far as seeing X-Rays and Gamma rays, there is no reason why one couldn't see them.  An issue might be to have a detection element that could pick them up without the high energy photons just passing through the detector.  But, obviously we have detectors so that wouldn't necessarily be a problem.

You might look up fluoroscopy.  As I understand it, a fluoroscope consists of a layer that fluoresces somewhat like the tube of an old CRT TV, and then a camera that takes an image of it.  You would think one could almost make a passive device in front of the eye that could serve the same function, although focusing the image might be a problem.

Generally one has an X-Ray source on one side of an object, and the receiver on the other side.

One problem is that we get very few natural X-Rays and Gamma Rays that penetrate through the atmosphere, and would be illuminating on the surface of the Earth.  There is some gamma radiation from natural radioactive decay, but in most cases one just gets periodic decompositions.  Consider a Geiger counter that goes blip-blip-blip.  It wouldn't be enough to create an image.  There are some places where the Geiger counter starts buzzing instead of slow blips.  But, you might not want to stick around those places for very long.

There is a type of X-ray technique called Backscatter X-Rays where the source and the reader are in fact on the same side of the item being imaged.  The ability to both produce and view the X-rays as in the backscatter technique would be of benefit for an organism that had X-ray vision.
 

Offline RD

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Offline Voxx

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Re: Seeing In X-Ray's?
« Reply #3 on: 23/06/2012 06:35:22 »
Very intriguing, and very nice examples, I thank you for spending the time to write what you have.

I know this is asking a bit much and I am looking for images human created devices have captured in the UV and IR spectrum.

But if you have any images you know of or a site that does these kind of imaging, could you direct me to it?

And just a thought, but could someone go the opposite direction and see in microwaves or even radio waves?  Would radio waves be something similar to sonar?

If so what do you imagine someone would see?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Seeing In X-Ray's?
« Reply #4 on: 23/06/2012 07:50:47 »
Just look up on the web infrared and Thermography.  Also nightvision.

You can buy IR goggles on the internet if you wish.  Or, there was a topic on TNS on how to make a poor man's IR camera.

You can have passive systems (seeing the heat sources), and active systems (emitting and reflecting IR light).  IR emitters would be invisible to the naked eye.  However, it would be like shining a spotlight for a military application when others are also using IR nightvision.  I.E.  not very stealthy.

I'm not sure what UV would give you.  UV fluorescence producing visible light requires a UV light source, and darkness.  This is helpful for finding organic molecules and organic residues such as blood and urine.  However, reflected UV likely just gives more colors and image details.

Spacial resolution drops off quickly with microwaves and radio waves.  Although, perhaps you could still detect directionality, intensity, and frequency with a relatively small receiver.  Could you "see" a cell phone?  Seeing a digital message would be more difficult as it would be encrypted, although potentially one could "hear" a classical analog radio signal.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #5 on: 23/06/2012 09:28:39 »
X-Rays and UV photons have more energy than visible-light photons, and so they could trigger light-sensitive cells (as well as damaging them).
  • Before the health hazards of X-Rays were discovered, some early experimenters reported a blue glow when their head was close to the X-Ray tube. So X-Rays can give a sensation of light, but because X-Rays go straight through flesh, your eyes can't focus it into an image.
  • Similarly, in the early days of cataract surgery, they used a glass lens to replace the natural lens in the eye. The glass lens let through much more UV than the protein lens, and people reported seeing in UV light. This is probably also doing damage to the retina.

Infra-Red waves have less energy than visible light, and so would have trouble triggering light-sensitive nerves. We can detect strong infra-red sources by the heat on our skin, and some snakes can detect even weak IR sources (like a mouse).

However, Microwaves and radio waves have much less energy than IR, and so would have trouble triggering nerves at all. Photons in this part of the spectrum have less energy than the thermal energy of atoms of your body, so they would be overwhelmed by "thermal noise".
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #6 on: 23/06/2012 16:09:42 »
Interesting, comments Evan_au and CliffordK.

So, people with a glass eye have reported (through UV exposure) they have been able to see in the UV spectrum.  What would one be able to see in this spectrum?  Would it be all a blend of dark and light violet colors and would you be able to see organic molecules and organic residues from far away?
Pictures Like This? ---> http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/special/images/KlausDSchmitt_B.jpg
                                   http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/FSL/8Z1G/54VEVYDZWHZ/FSL8Z1G54VEVYDZWHZ.MEDIUM.jpg
                                   http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00S/00Sigo-115005584.JPG

IR, would be a thermal imaging of the surroundings?  So would that make everything else look black and white or some of the green imaging I've seen in some movies?  Would creatures that produce body heat have a red and orange filling?
Pictures Like This? ---> http://web.njit.edu/~gary/202/assets/infrared.jpg
                                    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Infrared_08705_yedigoller-exposure.JPG
                                    http://viaddress.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/2.jpg

X-Ray's would be damaging for the eye to see in correct?  So if someone was able to see in X-Ray's would it seem 2D and be more like a picture like vision or could it be 3D?
« Last Edit: 23/06/2012 16:19:38 by Voxx »
 

Offline Phractality

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #7 on: 23/06/2012 17:09:57 »
Many witnesses to a-bomb tests said they could see x-ray images of each other. It is unclear how this is possible. The main problem would be how to focus x-rays with the eyes. Ordinary lenses don't focus x-rays the way they focus visible light. Instead, they produce diffraction patters of the crystaline structure of the lense. X-ray telescopes used a special kind of mirror.
 

 
Perhaps the a-bomb witnesses discovered a new kind of sensory perception.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #8 on: 24/06/2012 02:23:19 »
Many witnesses to a-bomb tests said they could see x-ray images of each other. It is unclear how this is possible. The main problem would be how to focus x-rays with the eyes. Ordinary lenses don't focus x-rays the way they focus visible light. Instead, they produce diffraction patters of the crystaline structure of the lense. X-ray telescopes used a special kind of mirror.
 

 
Perhaps the a-bomb witnesses discovered a new kind of sensory perception.

Quite interesting, thank you for sharing Phractality; I can honestly say I have never heard of this recount before and it seems worth looking into.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #9 on: 24/06/2012 11:13:25 »
Perhaps the reports of "X-Ray Vision" during atomic bomb tests were due to the very high intensity light flash that accompanies a nuclear explosion.
Someone with their hands over their eyes in preparation for the flash would have an afterimage of the bones in their hand remaining on their retina for a few seconds after the explosion. But this image would be due to visible light, not X-Rays.

Since X-Rays are somewhat absorbed by bone, the only visual indication that could be expected from X-Rays would be a slight dimming of the glow when you faced away from the X-Ray source, compared to when you are facing it directly. This is an effect of shielding the X-rays, not focusing them.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #10 on: 24/06/2012 16:26:38 »
Seem's like a logical explanation, so due to the intense light exposure the light broke right past the skin's protective layers and sent an afterimage of the dense bone structure of your hand?
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #11 on: 06/07/2012 11:54:03 »
I think I've read about people seeing uv? Due to some defect in the eye, or operation of the same. But radiation is radiation. I'm sure we will be able to graft sensory devices that will communicate radiation directly to us (the brain) some day. and that day the brain will accept it as just another mode of information.

It's all about the brains 'plasticity'. There are a lot of very intriguing experiments going on about that. Just goggle on 'plasticity' and see.
 

Rgclark

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #12 on: 09/07/2012 08:46:28 »
Now correct me if i'm wrong, but the eye is only the reciprocal for the electromagnetic waves and our brain interprets them in the visible light spectrum?
So would it be possible for someone to be born seeing in X-Ray's instead of the visible light spectrum?  "Theoretically" of course.

 They made a movie about that.
 It didn't turn out well for him ...

The Man with The X Ray Eyes 1963.


  Bob Clark    ;-)
« Last Edit: 09/07/2012 08:52:07 by Rgclark »
 

Offline Phractality

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #13 on: 09/07/2012 17:10:51 »
I think I've read about people seeing uv? Due to some defect in the eye, or operation of the same. But radiation is radiation. I'm sure we will be able to graft sensory devices that will communicate radiation directly to us (the brain) some day. and that day the brain will accept it as just another mode of information.

It's all about the brains 'plasticity'. There are a lot of very intriguing experiments going on about that. Just goggle on 'plasticity' and see.
Try a Google search. It's called tetrachromacy.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #14 on: 11/07/2012 19:56:48 »
Yeah, a very cool subject, as well as synaesthsia. Both gets joined by the brain to all other sensorial inputs to give you your very own 'uniquely normal' experience of reality. And that is what I mean by plasticity. In a way it's all about what 'really exists', but still uniquely interpreted for/by each person.

What really phreaks me out is how we can agree on tastes and colors at all :)
How do we know? Genes?  Maybe, but that still doesn't answer it because we're all different, yet we all 'know'?
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #15 on: 16/07/2012 05:22:52 »
Yeah, a very cool subject, as well as synaesthsia. Both gets joined by the brain to all other sensorial inputs to give you your very own 'uniquely normal' experience of reality. And that is what I mean by plasticity. In a way it's all about what 'really exists', but still uniquely interpreted for/by each person.

What really phreaks me out is how we can agree on tastes and colors at all :)
How do we know? Genes?  Maybe, but that still doesn't answer it because we're all different, yet we all 'know'?

Personally I think it has to do with chemistry, how the brain reacts with natural chemical reactions.

Take Taste for an example, everyone does have a sense of spicy, sweet and bitter for a short listing.  Some people like spicy food and some don't, I believe it's the chemical balance within the brain.  Have you wondered why you suddenly have craving for a cold sweet piece of food?  I believe it has to do with your brain believing it needs those chemicals and so it tell's you to get it.

I noticed a few holes in my theory with writing it, but i believe the principle is very close.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #16 on: 18/07/2012 01:49:33 »
Chemistry is cool, assuming we all have the same, but then you have the way we 'know' what is 'salt' when another person describes it? Maybe? There should be some way to systematize it from the taste to the recognition of another persons description. There must be.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #17 on: 07/08/2012 19:01:15 »
Chemistry is cool, assuming we all have the same, but then you have the way we 'know' what is 'salt' when another person describes it? Maybe? There should be some way to systematize it from the taste to the recognition of another persons description. There must be.

What's interesting is when you ask a kid if something is salty and they have never tasted salt, they don't know.  But, once they have tasted salt they have a relative description of it, so in a sense everyone does have the same chemical reaction with in their mouth that gives off that response.  Of course, there is also the argument that if we have been told that is salt and that it tastes "salty" it must be described as such.

Interesting no?
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #18 on: 09/08/2012 15:03:10 »
I'm not sure Voxx, there are a lot of different cultures on Earth, if now that is the right word? Some of them still living in hunter societies as I think? It would be really interesting to see if all humans recognize it the same from an early age. I remember once :) I was sort of tired, wanted coffee and thought it was sugar I put in it. My first thought was that it was terribly cloyingly sweet :) And it took me some time to realize that it actually was salt I tasted, not sweet.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #19 on: 21/08/2012 23:02:58 »
I'm not sure Voxx, there are a lot of different cultures on Earth, if now that is the right word? Some of them still living in hunter societies as I think? It would be really interesting to see if all humans recognize it the same from an early age. I remember once :) I was sort of tired, wanted coffee and thought it was sugar I put in it. My first thought was that it was terribly cloyingly sweet :) And it took me some time to realize that it actually was salt I tasted, not sweet.

Interesting.

What your getting at is, your brain in fact had to register and calculate what you were actually tasting.

So, in that theory your saying, is that it isn't the actual memory of the taste that you associated with, but the chemical breakdown with in your mouth and once that pattern hits your brain you can overrule that taste with thought?
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #20 on: 27/08/2012 00:30:27 »
In a way I think so. It seems as if we indeed are genetically programmed to 'know' some things, it must be that way considering small critters as bugs etc interacting (as I think:). But when it comes to larger brains we seem to use logical overlays that helps us simplify our senses, although I'm not sure on it of course. But I did discern it as salt after a short while though. So maybe we all really 'know' what salt is.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #21 on: 28/08/2012 16:30:44 »
Thank you for your thoughts Yor_on, it was an interesting conversation.

Although, it got a little off topic it was still interesting.
 

Offline damocles

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #22 on: 30/08/2012 06:02:09 »
There is another phenomenon that seems to have been overlooked in this conversation -- fluorescence. X-rays are capable of breaking down chemical bonds in any material they pass through before reaching the eye. Some of this material will be in "excited states" and release its excess energy in the form of visible light. Intense x-rays would certainly break down in the material of the eyeball itself, but that would produce an unfocussed bluish glow.

But what about atmosphere and dust and objects in the path of an intense x-ray beam to the eye? X-rays might easily produce significant (but moch lower than the X-ray source) intensities of visible light in the directions of intense beams and none in regions where x-rays did not penetrate -- this would lead to a form of directional distribution of visible light that would be focussed in the usual way into a directionally resolved pseudo-image by the lens of our eyes.
 

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Re: Could a person see X-rays?
« Reply #22 on: 30/08/2012 06:02:09 »

 

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