Silent Talk 'Telepathy' For Soldiers
Silent Talk is the name of a new DARPA project to “allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.” And yes, that's in addition to the money spent to investigate wireless transmission of decoded thoughts.
The intent of the program is to detect "pre-speech" - word-specific neural signals in the brain, analyze them and then send the content to team members.
Obviously, they're just in the investigative stage. DARPA wants to know if it is possible to map EEG patterns to individual words - for one person. Then, determine if everyone has similar patterns. Finally, decode the pattern and broadcast the words to team mates in the field.
The more I learn about DARPA's intentions regarding improving soldier capabilities, the more I think they're trying to create the Meks from Jack Vance's Hugo and Nebula award-winning 1967 novel The Last Castle.
(The Mek solitary - The Last Castle, by Jack Vance)
The Mek was a manlike creature... native... to a planet of Etamin. His tough rusty-brown hide glistened metallically as if oiled or waxed; the spines thrusting back from head and neck shone like gold, and indeed were coated with a conductive copper-chrome film...
His maw, a vertical irregular cleft at the base of this 'face' was an obsolete organ by reason of the syrup sac which had been introduced under the skin of the shoulders...
This was the Mek solitary, a creature intrinsically as effective as man - perhaps more by virtue of his superb brain which also functioned as a radio transceiver...
The Meks are able to share the substance of their thoughts with each other by transmitting brain pattern signals using the conductive spines.
DARPA is already working on the idea of the "syrup sac", creating transdermal patches to deliver essential nutrients (see DARPA Seeks Metabolic Dominance).
Readers may also be thinking of the Borg, whose members are retrofitted with a neuro-transceiver that links every drone into the collective. See Synthetic Telepathy For US Military Borg-Style for more information and a video.
(The Borg neuro-transceiver)
I also think that Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven should get some credit for their work on the idea of a communications implant from their 1981 novel Oath of Fealty. They describe what amounts to computer-mediated telepathy in great detail, and in a variety of situations.
In her 1931 story The Conquest of Gola, L.F. Stone made an interesting distinction between "regular" telepathy and the mechanically-mediated kind with her mechanical thought transformers.
From Wired; thanks to Moira for the tip on this one (welcome back!).
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/16/2009)
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 ( 8 )
Related News Stories -
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...' - John Varley, 1984.
HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.
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.
LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'
Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories