'Thinking Cap' Now With TMS Coil
A "thinking cap" created by Sydney University researchers claims that a magnetic coil can stimulate greater creativity and enhance other skills.
In one experiment, volunteers were asked to draw a dog, horse or face from memory before and after being zapped for ten to 15 minutes.
Four of the 11 volunteers produced more natural pictures after wearing the cap.
Two also spotted written mistakes in pieces of text that they'd overlooked earlier, a Royal Society conference heard on Monday.
In a third experiment, the device boosted the ability to quickly estimate the number of dots shown on a screen.
(Thinking cap in operation)
The technique is the same used in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which has been studied on a more extensive basis for relief of depression, migraines and sleeplessness.
Science fiction authors (and audiences) have been fascinated for generations with the idea of helmets that bestow remarkable abilities.
In his 1937 short story Brain Control, Dave Cummins writes about a brain control helmet that delivers automatic reversed memory:
"...I merely lived through the five minutes before I entered this office, in reverse order; everything happened backward. .."
The doctor was pleased. "Evidently my process worked perfectly. I call it automatic reversed memory. By sending the proper electric currents through that helmet I reverse the electrical action of the nerve cells in the brain and produce this reversed memory... as real as actual experience."
"That helmet I have devised has a great number of small metal plates inside which I pick up the impulses from the various parts of the brain. They pass through the wires to my instruments and their beats, frequencies, and potentials are recorded..."
In his 1938 short story Easy Money, Edmund Hamilton writes about the control helmet:
"...our forefathers originated Control. It is a device to make certain that everyone has the same mental attitude on important questions. The wisest of our race is always the Controller. He wears the sacred Control helmet, the supreme achievement of our science, which amplifies and broadcasts the neuro-electric currents of his brain as a powerful vibration that affects every other human brain, setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all."
In his 1957 story Cities in Flight, James Blish uses a special helmet (plus gray gas of unspecified composition) to enhance learning, creating accelerated schooling:
They conducted you to your couch and helped you to fit over your head a bright metal helmet which had inside it what seemed to be hundreds of tiny, extremely sharp points which bit into your scalp just enought to make you nervous, but without enough pressure to break the skin. Once this gadget, which was called a toposcope, was adjusted to their satisfaction, the monitors left, and the room began to fill with the gray gas.
This gas was like a fog, except that it was dry and faintly aromatic... it made it impossible to see the rest of the room until the session was over, when it was sucked out with a subdued roar of blowers...
...the torrent of facts that came from the memory cells of the City Fathers into the prickly helmet was overwhelming and merciless.
More recent examples from sf movies abound.
(From Forbidden Planet 1956)
In the film Forbidden Planet, Professor Morbius gains amazing Krell secrets from brief helmet sessions.
In the classic Trek episode Spock's Brain, Dr. McCoy gains centuries of medical knowledge in a single episode.
(McCoy goes to super advanced alien med school)
From Daily Mail; thanks to Moira for writing in with this one.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/1/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue." - Clifford Simak, 1961
Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1963.
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day.
Ford's Autonomous Cabs 'Transportation As A Service'
'He was glad to crawl into his autocab and close the cover.'
Sex In Driverless Cars?
'...admirable for petting.'
Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'
Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'
Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'
FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'
Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."
Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'
Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'
MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories