Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Telepathy and Brain Interface Technologies

There is growing interest and investments being made by industry in Telepathy or Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technologies. These emerging technologies currently include a variety of wearable and implantable solutions that are currently being pilot tested.

Telepathy has long been considered an aspect of psychic phenomena or a super power. Telepathy has commonly been defined as a sort of information transmission from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction.

However, as a growing number of voice-activated technologies have become a reality, the idea of using emerging technologies to begin telling machines to do what we want simply by telepathically thinking about it – a form of synthetics telepathy – has suddenly begun to be plausible.

Such technology is starting to be being developed, tested, and marketed as a new way to control video games, for battlefield communications, interactions with medical prosthetic limbs, and interfaces to many other computerized devices as we move into the future.

The U.S. Army is dedicating millions of research dollars into building and testing helmets to allow soldiers to telepathically communicate with weapon systems, or with one another, on the battlefield. 


  • Telepathy involves the purported transmission of information from one person to another without the appearance of using any of our known physical sensory channels.
  • Brain Computer Interface (BCI), mind-machine interface (MMI), or brain–machine interface (BMI), involves the direct communication between an augmented or 'wired' brain and some sort of external computer-driven device.

Selected Articles & Findings

The following are a selection of recently published articles on telepathy or brain computer interface (BCI) technologies that you might find interesting:
  • Scientists Develop Real Telepathy Thanks To EEG Technology - In 2014, a team of neuroscientists and robotics engineers enabled study participants to communicate from 5,000 miles away over the Internet… using only their brains. The study might be the first proven, real example of telepathy. The underlying technology that allowed the computers to pick up on the participants thoughts is called electroencephalogram (EEG). Doctors have already been using EEG technology for a number of years with paralysis patients to help them use their brains to control selective robotic components. More specifically, famous astrophysicist and author Stephen Hawking has been working with tech startup Neurovigil to perfect an EEG headset that could interpret his thoughts - a kind of human to computer form of synthetic telepathy.
  •  Telepathy is now possible using current technology - In 2014, researchers at the University of Washington demonstrated that two people could work together telepathically to play a video game. The researchers of the telepathic video-game study were primarily interested in was non-verbal communication. Verbal communication of knowledge via current technologies is a much more complex feat requiring extensive additional research and development efforts. 
  • DARPA Cortical Modem connects Brain to Computer enabling 'electronic telepathy and telekinesis' - A brain-computer interface has been developed by the US Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that is capable of laying a heads-up display over a user's natural vision. The "cortical modem" also holds the potential to cure sight loss and enable "electronic telepathy and telekinesis" according to noted futurist Peter Rothman of H+ Magazine. Phillip Alvelda, Chief of DARPA's Biological Technologies, has said the device could replace virtual reality glasses, such as the Oculus Rift, by bypassing the visual sensory system entirely. The project builds on work in the field of optogenetics.  
  • First Brain-to-Brain Interface is a step towards 'Digital Telepathy' - Scientists have taken an important step towards achieving ‘digital telepathy’ by sending information directly from one individual’s brain to another without the use of any intermediary interfaces. Subjects in the ground-breaking experiment were located 5,000 miles apart in India and France and fitted with caps monitoring electrical signals in the brain.  
  • Facebook Founder Says Telepathy is in Our Future! - Facebook Founder Says Telepathy is in Our Future! reports that Mark Zuckerberg says the future of Facebook is telepathy. “You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like,” Zuckerberg said. “This would be the ultimate communication technology.” It appears he believes this will happen through the use of new technologies already being tested.


Researchers and critics of telepathy or brain computer interface (BCI) technologies have raised several key issues that need to be addressed well before we go to far down the road with this technology. For example:
  • Several individuals have warned that public sale of artificial telepathy technology would inevitably result in the theft of bank account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, trade secrets, and other sensitive information that could then be used for a variety of nefarious purposes.
  • Much like we're seeing as use of drone technology has proliferated, new legislation and controls need to be developed and put into place well before this emerging technology ever rolls out across the public and private sector.

Conclusions & Recommendations

Some form of digital or synthetic telepathy solution will emerge in the next decade or so and begin to be commercialized. Obviously Mark Zuckerberg hopes his company, Facebook, will lead the way. The pilot testing of alternative technical solutions are already underway. How it will finally be packaged and used when the 1st generation of solutions emerge will be interesting to watch. We do have time to consider the implications and address the key issues of privacy, security, and legislative restrictions on its use – or abuse. But take note, just like drones, teleportation, internet of things (IoT), unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAV), commercialized space exploration, regenerative medicine, the technical singularity… it will become a reality of life later this century.

Share any additional information you might have or any constructive insights about synthetic or digital telepathy with our readers.

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