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"Another reason why privacy could be just a passing fad, terrorism is going to get too good. [1997]"
- Larry Niven

Menograph (Mind-Writer)  
  Direct translation of thought to paper.  

He soon had read all that interested him, and as there was still an hour before dinner time he began to "write" his lecture: "On the prolongation of animal life by π-Rays."

He attached a double leather head-band to his head. At each end of the band was attached a round metal disc that pressed closely on the temples. From each metal disc an insulated wire led to a small square box, the Menograph, or mind-writer.

He then pressed a button and a low humming was heard; simultaneously two small bulbs began to glow with a soft green fluorescent light. Grasping a button connected with a flexible cord to the Menograph, he leaned back in his chair.

After a few minutes' reflection he pressed the button, and at once a wave line, traced in ink, appeared on a narrow white fabric band, the latter resembling a telegraph recorder tape.

The band which moved rapidly, was unrolled from one reel and rolled up on another. Whenever the inventor wished to "write" down his thoughts, he would press the button, which started the mechanism as well as the recording tracer.

Where the wave line breaks, a new word or sentence commences; the three words shown are the result of the thought which expresses itself in the words, "In olden times." ...)

The Menograph was one of Ralph 124C 41+'s earliest inventions, and entirely superseded the pen and pencil. It was only necessary to press the button when an idea was to be recorded and to release the button when one reflected and did not wish the thought-words recorded.

Instead of writing a letter, one sent the recorded Menotape, and inasmuch as the Menolphabet was universal and could be read by anyone—children being taught it at an early age—it was considered that this invention of Ralph's was one of his greatest gifts to humanity: Twenty times as much work could be done by means of the Menograph as could be done by the old-fashioned writing, which required considerable physical effort. Typewriters soon disappeared after its invention. Nor was there any use for stenographers, as the thoughts were written down direct on the tape, which was sent out as a letter was sent centuries ago.

From Ralph 124c 41 +, by Hugo Gernsback.
Published by Modern Electrics in 1911
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