The Future of Telepathy


Fall 2010 Issue

Mind to Mind Communication Technology

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The features of telepathy can be divided into three main areas: the gathering of information from one brain, the transmission of the information elsewhere, and the delivery of the information to another brain. Today, evidence of all three features exists in our technology. In 2003, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis trained a monkey to control a joystick that directed a robotic arm. Nicolelis used electrodes to record the brain waves produced during the monkey’s actions and reprogrammed the joystick to respond to those same electric patterns. The monkey then learned to control the joystick with its thoughts. This technique is now being used in a number of human applications. Transmitting data, the second part of the telepathy equation, is the easiest to prove, but the third part, delivering information into another brain, is the biggest challenge, and even this aspect has had some success. The BrainPort is a prototype device that has helped blind people such as Lance-Corporal Craig Lundberg and Erik Weinhenmayer to “see” again. The device requires users to wear a miniature video camera, carry a portable computer, and place sensors on their tongue. The webcam then records images, which are interpreted by the computer and activates pixels that tingle the tongue. Wearers of BrainPort have learned to interpret those signals as a representation of the world around them. Dave Evans, chief futurist at the Internet Business Solutions Group, believes this device represents the beginning of the third major feature of telepathy, and that within fifty years all three will be mastered, giving humans the ability to communicate without ever opening their mouths.

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