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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Accelerated Schooling Helmet  
  A device that stimulates the brain and imparts knowledge directly.  

The "schoolroom" was a large, gray, featureless chamber devoid of blackboard or desk; its only furniture consisted of a number of couches scattered about the floor... 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.

...the torrent of facts that came from the memory cells of the City Fathers into the prickly helmet was overwhelming and merciless.

From Cities in Flight, by James Blish.
Published by Avon in 1957
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cities in Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
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  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

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  - 'Thinking Cap' Now With TMS Coil
  - Brain Stimulation Enhances Motor Skill Learning
  - Electric Brain Stimulation Quickens Learning
  - DecNef: Download Skills Into Your Brain

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