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Reading Minds, Recording Dreams, and Brain Imaging

Michio Kaku | 6:00


When I was a child, I was fascinated by telepathy and science fiction. In fact, I tried really hard to read other people's minds to project my thoughts into other people's heads, and I came to the conclusion that maybe Telepaths do walk the surface of the earth, but I wasn't one of them. Now I'm a physicist and I realized that with all the electromagnetic probes that we have of the human brain, we can actually see thoughts ricocheting across the brain itself.

We can see the thinking living brain as it thinks, and we can create computer simulations of this to understand what people are thinking. So at the present time, telepathy exists. For example, look at my colleague Steven Haw. He's lost control of his fingers now, so he cannot communicate even with the laptop computer, but look at his right frame of his glasses.

There's an EEG sensor that picks up RA radio waves from his brain, decodes that, and he is allowed to manipulate to some degree a laptop computer. You can do better by putting a chip directly on top of the brain. People who are totally paralyzed, who are vegetables, and they're trapped in the shell of a lifeless body.

These people can now play video games. They can read email, write email, do crossword puzzles. They can operate their wheelchair. They can control household appliances. They can control mechanical arms. Next, they will control mechanical legs. And exoskeletons. In fact, one of the people that pioneers this technology for the next world soccer cup wants to have a paralyzed person put on an exoskeleton and initiate the soccer games.

That's a goal for one of the scientists that I've interviewed for my book. And so we're way past simply understanding the way in which the brain radiates radio. We're at the point now where we can actually interface the human brain with a computer and eventually with an exoskeleton by which they can become Iron Man.

And so Iron Man is not simply a question of science fiction. It's something that we can actually visualize in the labor. In addition to putting a chip on top of the brain, you can actually put sensors directly into the brain itself that are like hair, like thin fibers. There's a certain class of people with depression that have been resistant to drugs, pharmacology, psychiatry, counseling.

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