The evil voices in my head are telling me to play this Sony game

Sony has just received two patents for a “method and system for generating sensory data onto the human neural cortex”. In plain English, that means they’ve designed a technique to implant thoughts in your head — to make you smell something, taste something, or perhaps even feel a particular feeling. It’s like a supercharged version of Smell-O-Vision, except in this case it’s Sony, y’know, controlling your mind. As the New Scientist reports:

The technique suggested in the patent is entirely non-invasive. It describes a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating “sensory experiences” ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds. This could give blind or deaf people the chance to see or hear, the patent claims.

You can check out the patents — 6,729,337 and 6,536,440 yourself.

(Thanks to Steve for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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