icedrake pointed me to this link, which in turn points to a larger article here, about researchers who are creating new senses by piggybacking onto existing senses.
It's neat stuff. For example, researchers have taken a camera, connected its output to a device that you wear on your tongue (which has a very large number of sensory nerves crowded very close together), which "draws" a "picture" of what the camera sees onto your tongue using subtle electrical currents. Now hold on to your hat, Dorothy, 'cause this is the part where Kansas goes bye-bye...not only does this allow people to navigate blindfolded, but afterward, their memories of the experience aren't memories of feelings on their tongue, but visual memories. This suggests, though it has not yet been confirmed by fMRI scans, that the visual cortex of the brain quickly and seamlessly takes over processing the information being presented to the tongue. And that suggests that our brain's ability to interpret data from new senses actually outstrips our sensory system, meaning that adding new senses to human beings should be a pretty straightforward matter.
I already know the first two I want.
First, I want tiny neodymium magnets surgically implanted in my fingertips so that I can feel magnetic fields. (This is no surprise; I've talked about this before.)
Next, I want a series of tiny holes drilled all the way around the edge of my hip bone. Why, you ask? Why, for the piezo transducers, of course! I want a row of tiny piezo transducers implanted all along the edge of my pelvic girdle, all the way around, connected to a device (which I figure can be tucked in beneath one of my kidneys) which can detect which way is magnetic north and vibrate the transducer that faces north. Tat way, I will always have an immediate, unerring, and flawless sense of direction.
Dammit, this stuff should be easy. In fact, I'm even willing to forego having the flying car I was promised in kindergarten if I can get this instead.