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Minecraft's new block has no limits

Minecraft players are used to building all sorts of weird and wild contraptions. In fact, just one look at the craziest roller coasters in the game might be all the confirmation you need. Some players never stop looking for new ways to build innovative Minecraft gadgets, though. It seems a new block being added to the game could help take those inventions to the next level.

In Minecraft's 1.17 update, which most believe will arrive sometime in 2021, players will get access to blocks called Skulk Sensors. These Sensors, as TheGamer explained in its breakdown, are used to detect sound, and will be added in conjunction with a new enemy mob called The Warden.

The creatures in The Warden are apparently blind, and use Skulk Sensors to hone in on nearby threats — that's probably bad news if you're someone who makes a lot of noise. There is a silver lining to the introduction of the Skulk Sensors, however; according to the official Minecraft Twitter account, the Sensors are capable of "emitting a redstone signal when charged."

Redstone is often used in Minecraft to build and power creations of all types. If you have a machine running on a Redstone circuit — and you imagine a Skulk Sensor as a sort of Clapper — you can potentially turn things on and off without having to physically flip a switch. The possibilities are endless.

It's important to note that Skulk Sensors aren't officially available in Minecraft just yet. As previously stated, they're set to come as part of an update that isn't expected until sometime next year. Still, that hasn't stopped some Minecraft players from dreaming a bit early. Some have even managed to replicate much of the Skulk Sensor's functionality via mods, giving them a head start on building new things.

YouTuber Mumbo Jumbo, for example, showed off a number of his own creations. He built a storage room with chests that are only accessible when a character is in close proximity. He built a few other sound-activated doors, too. Feeling the Halloween spirit, Mumbo Jumbo even erected a giant face with eyes that follow the player, using the modded Skulk Sensor (and a strategically placed series of pistons) to shift the eyes one way or the other.

It's not terribly difficult to imagine what else players might come up with, too. Mumbo Jumbo toyed with the idea of a very basic security system, but someone with more time and a more concrete plan could make something far more elaborate. And there are undoubtedly other uses players will discover as they themselves experiment with the modded version of the Skulk Sensor.

There is, however, one major caveat that is worth mentioning when it comes to the modded Skulk Sensor versus the real deal.

The mod version only detects sound when the player is close enough to actually hear it. This keeps the modded Skulk Sensor from being activated even when it's around noisy objects. Players like Mumbo Jumbo have used this to their advantage, keeping the sensor at a distance so it only activates when the player is close enough. The real version, however, will reportedly be able to hear things even if the player can't, according to The Gamer, which could break the functionality of the contraptions being built now.

There could be scenarios where players might actually want the Skulk Sensor to activate upon hearing any sound, though. So perhaps the lack of a limit here could end up working out for some, depending on what it is they're trying to build.

Minecraft's official Skulk Sensor could very well change between now and release. Many of the details about how it works were based on what players saw during this year's Minecraft Live event. It's possible the team at Mojang could look at what's being done with the modded version and work in some tweaks, or perhaps create an entirely separate proximity-based block for players to use.

For now, players will have to experiment with the next closest thing — a mod that tries to work in a similar way. Based on the shortcomings of the mod Skulk Sensor, players may not be getting the most accurate representation of what this new block will bring to the game. At the very least, though, they're getting to work out the kinks of building with something like it months before the official version is released.

Minecraft players will almost surely release more content soon around the modded version of this new block. Keep checking back for more.