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"I do think there is a link in that in both cases, writing fiction or writing a computer program, at any given moment you're focusing on a very specific and particular thing—one word, one line of code, whatever."
- Neal Stephenson

Hypnobioscope  
  The first fictional reference to sleep teaching.  

The idea that people could learn while asleep was a source of continuing fascination to people in the early 20th century.

It remained to Ralph, however, to perfect the Hypnobioscope, which transmitted words direct to the sleeping brain, in such a manner that everything could be remembered in detail the next morning.

This was made possible by having the impulses act directly and steadily on the brain. For thousands of years humanity had wasted half of its life during sleep - the negative life.


(The hypo-bioscope by Hugo Gernsback)

Technovelgy from Ralph 124c 41 +, by Hugo Gernsback.
Published by Modern Electrics in 1911
Additional resources -

The first use of this idea outside science fiction was apparently the invention of the "Psycho-Phone" by In 1927 by Alois Benjamin Saliger . He asserted that "It has been proven that natural sleep is identical with hypnotic sleep and that during natural sleep the unconscious mind is most receptive to suggestions." Modern research indicates that "sleep teaching" doesn't really work.


(Hypnobioscope from 'Ralph 124c 41 +' by Hugo Gernsback)

Unlike the devices used to present information to the brain by the roundabout method of playing it out loud and then entering through the ears, the hypnobioscope acts directly on the brain itself.

This illustration appeared in Wonder Stories in 1938:


(Hypnobioscope)

Compare to hypnopaedia from Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World and the toposcope from Cities in Flight (1955) by James Blish.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ralph 124c 41 +
  More Ideas and Technology by Hugo Gernsback
  Tech news articles related to Ralph 124c 41 +
  Tech news articles related to works by Hugo Gernsback

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