Telepathy Translates To Better Body Counts

by Translation Guy on April 21, 2011

Mind readers with guns. It’s a natural. US Army Brass are conjuring up a mind-reading method that will have soldiers talking to each other just by thinking. This is a very handy communication channel to have when you are trying to shoot someone.  A $6.3 million U.S. Army project to establish the basic science required to build a thought helmet—a device that can detect and transmit the unspoken speech of soldiers in silence. Adam Piore, reporting in Discover Magazine, says it’s “getting closer to battlefield reality. Within a decade Special Forces could creep into the caves of Tora Bora to snatch Al Qaeda operatives, communicating and coordinating without hand signals or whispered words.”

Piore’s point is creepy on a lot of different levels (10 more years?!!), and at first glance doesn’t have much to do with the translation trade, unless you happen to be some hapless Pashtun ‘terp caught in an enfilading fire without your thought helmet. (Screaming remains optional.) But this emerging technology has major implications for the way we will communicate in the future. The brief renaissance of the written word introduced by the limits of HTML on the Web will soon pass, as we search for the easiest channels of communication.

So, if you think about these artificial telepathy as a business, which it is,  telepathy Caves of Tora Bora are just seed money. You don’t have to be a mind-reader to image that any researcher  thinking  telepathy is thinking about where  to find the  big money. Sure, helping the disabled is another revenue stream, and certainly better at keeping the old karma wheel spinning in the right direction. But the gigabucks will be in consumer telepathy.  A personal brain jack will be a must-have. Those without will be practically helpless against the collective mind of us all with a permanent mindjack into Facebook. If manufactured by Apple, that  sleek little telepathy helmet will be bigger than botox, the essential accessory of assimilation.

OK, full disclosure: The sky has not yet fallen. Here’s the state of the art.  The search for a thought helmet begane for Colonel Elmar Schmeisser, a noted Karate scholar  with a doctorate in the physiology of vision,  who has wanted a thought helmet ever since he read “Skylark of Space” in eighth grade.

“The goal is to build a helmet embedded with brain-scanning technologies that can target a specific brain wave, translate them into words and transmit those words wirelessly to a radio speaker, or into the earpeice of another soldier.”

In addition to “Skylark,” Schmeisser was later  inspired by the work of Gerwin Schalik, a biomedical scientist at Albany Medical College. Schawlik is an expert on brain-computer interfaces, who thinks brain signals can be extracted from craniums without the muss and fuss of deeply planted brain electrodes. In the future. Right now they have to surgically remove the top of a subjects skull and place electrodes directly on the surface of the naked cortex to get their brain reading up to snuff. (Its not as bad as it sounds. These patients are getting their brains mapped for life-saving surgery to control severe epilepsy. The brain recording is done voluntarily during the procedure.)

Each patient was given a  list of 36 simple words–bat, boat, etc., with orders to imagine saying them instead of actually spitting it out. During the brain readings, imagined words left  the motor cortex in the dark, but the auditory cortex and Wernicke’s area were active just as if the words were spoken.

Another team, lead by Mike D’Zmura, a cognitive scientists at UTC Irvine, have been testing an  EEG cap to listen in on brain signals, no brain surgery required. While the scalpel-free technology is a lot handier on the battlefield, D’Zuma’s team only achieved 100% accuracy with the dots and dashes of morse code. Even the simpelist of imagined commands can be deciphered only about 50% of the time.

So a way to go yet. I’m surprised that this kind of research hasn’t created more of a stir, since the implication seems staggering to someone like me who squandered his youth reading SciFi. Karate Colonel Schmeisser  isn’t afraid of threats to privacy or mind control,  since the process only works if completely voluntary, (you’ve got to imagine saying the word for the current system to work and any device will take a long period of training to get inside a partcular head.  If you don’t want your mind read, think silently. It’s that easy to turn off.) It’s completely voluntary. What could possibly go wrong? We will choose to let them into our heads, just like we do everytime we whil away 15 seconds on an a youtube advert to watch a 30 second cat video.

I own telepathic powers are telling me that the Colonel doesn’t get it. Only a martial arts master who has not yet been assimilated by the collective would say anything as clueless as that. Resistance is futile. Once they go Borg, they never go back.


  1. Sully says:

    Its incredible that we are now at a point in technology that these tools predict what the enemy is going to do.

  2. There are major concerns with this technology and to believe that we are that close to being able to read each others minds. I’m afraid to see how are society will look 10 yrs from now

  3. bubba says:

    Speech and voice are already becoming redundant. I’m communicating to you through those electronic means right now, and have used neither speech nor voice to achieve it. There is no telepathy required

    • Ken says:

      Some of the emails in my inbox would certainly be a lot more comprehensible with a little more telepathy.

  4. CDPRINT says:

    Even with the technology these days we still we require speech to a certain degree; just to what level will be determined in time and evolution

  5. Chico says:

    how exciting, our technology has come so far that we will no longer need to communicate through writing and speaking, but communicating through our mind.

  6. This article was very interesting but I’m still sceptical on how this would work ; we have come a long way with our technology but still not believe we are there yet with the mind reading as communication.

  7. Wesley Allen says:

    how will this translate to call of duty? Seriously?…

  8. Niki says:

    nice to see our tax dollars hard at work finding easier ways to kill each other.

  9. Bebo says:

    paralysis and stroke patients could also benefit from this

  10. Fruitcake says:

    These technological advances better translate to big profits for the government. Velcro, which was developed by NASA during the Apollo space missions, had real world applications that are still relevant today. Although I disagree with the current application and testing of the technology, its potential is enormous and the only people rich enough to fund this type of research is the American taxpayer

  11. Phies says:

    The problem is that artificial telepathy provides the perfect weapon for mental torture and information theft. It provides an extremely powerful means for exploiting, harassing, controlling, and raping the mind of any person on earth. It opens the window to quasi-demonic possession of another person’s soul.

  12. Kyle Dejute says:

    The covert applications of “silent speech” technology are also fairly obvious. To communicate secretly at a business meeting, one could potentially wear sensors under a turtle neck and transmit one’s thoughts to a business partner wearing a bluetooth phone. Such a device could also be used to cheat at cards, to steal any data that can be seen and read, or to give silent orders among soldiers on a battlefield.

    Alarmingly, the perfection of such equipment implies that at some time in the near future, remote sensors might be able to read silent, said-to-self thoughts without the target’s knowledge or consent.

    • Ken says:

      Near future? Check out Coming Soon From the Air Force: Mind-Reading Drones “Coincidentally, according to the retcon in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, April 19, 2011 — today — is the day that Skynet goes online. Think about it.” writes Spence Ackerman in Wired’s Danger Room

  13. Nina Beach says:

    In the sacred name of “national security,” the technocrats who run the nightmarish police state will use this technology to arrogantly assume the right to invade the inner sanctum of the mind itself

  14. Mac says:

    Soudns pretty awesome. Can’t wait for it to finally come out

  15. Frances Hunt says:

    Between lovers, this would be beautiful.

    • Ken says:

      A slippery slope, Frances, since love leads to marraige. My wife already has so many ways to tell me to take out the trash. I’m not sure I want her in my head doing the same….

    • Ken says:

      Between a married couple, less so.

  16. Ben Wu says:

    there is a growing body of evidence that this country, once “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” has devolved into a paranoid police state, much like the authoritarian state described by George Orwell in 1984.

    • Ken says:

      Just read a moment ago that some critics say that George Orwell’s 1984 was inspired by Jack London’s “Iron Heel,” where an all-American oligarchy of monopoly trusts manage to squeeze out the middle class by bankrupting most small to mid-sized business.

  17. Magda says:

    BION I’m imprseesd! Cool post!

  18. Dayanara says:

    Stands back from the keyboard in amazement! Thnaks!

  19. Wiseman says:

    AFAIC that’s the best awnser so far!

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