Remote Control For Humans
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corp says it is developing a consumer version of a galvanic vestibular stimulation machine. It uses electric current to cause your body to feel the need to move on demand.
A special headset sends a low voltage current from the back of your ears through your head - right to left or left to right, depending on what the person with the "human controller" joystick chooses to do. Galvanic vestibular stimulation confuses the nerves in your ear to throw off your sense of balance. Since you feel unbalanced, you seek to orient your body properly. When the controller turns the switch to the right while you are walking, your body rebalances itself to veer to the right - without conscious thought. According to researchers, it is possible to force a person to actually walk along a predetermined route - like a pretzel-shaped path - using the device.
(Remote Controlled Spock)
In looking around for science fictional antecedents to the idea of a remote control for a person, I recalled the Star Trek episode Spock's Brain, which aired September 20th, 1968. In the story, Spock's brain is actually stolen right out of his head by beautiful aliens, leaving the body behind. McCoy fixes up a device that lets him control Spock's brainless body remotely; he fiddles with the controls on the remote, and Spock walks.
Science fiction stories about mind control almost invariably include the idea of telepathy by an organic mind, rather than by a mechanical device. For example, the thought-screen from the 1940's novel Gray Lensman by E.E. "Doc" Smith is intended to protect the user from beings with mind control powers. Robert Heinlein, in his 1951 novel The Puppet Masters, writes about "slugs" from Titan that ride on a human being and take complete control of the brain and nervous system.
Philip K. Dick, in his excellent 1955 short story Service Call, writes about the swibble, which was a combination of living organism and electronics:
Swibble-culture is an organic phenotype evolved in a protein medium under controlled conditions. The directing neurological tissue that forms the basis of the swibble is alive, certainly, in the sense that it grows, thinks, feeds, excretes waste. Yes, it's definitely alive. But the swibble, as a functioning whole, is a manufactured item.
(Read more about Philip K. Dick's swibble)
More recently, the evil Plankton hopes to force Spongebob Squarepants to reveal the secret Krabby Patty formula by taking control of Spongebob's brain with a device labeled "Total Control" and forcing him to walk right out of his house.
(Plankton Takes Control Of Spongebob
I'm hoping that, by including this whimsical reference to a popular children's television show, any unfortunate paranoids who come upon this page will be reassured that this product will only be used for fun and games. Despite the fact that users of NTT's experimental device claim that "It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain." Rest assured, though; you can even remote-control yourself by taking the device into your own hands.
Read more at
Remote control device 'controls' humans; found it at /..
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/25/2005)
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 ( 7 )
Related News Stories -
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.' - James Blish, 1957.
Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'
Rise Of Skywalker Could Trigger Epileptic Seizures
'... then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while.' - John Varley, 1984.
Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'
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.
PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun'
3D Printed Glass Uses Stereolithography Techniques
'All that with glass...'
Science Fiction Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'
I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'
Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'
Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'
Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'
MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'
AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'
E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'
Soft Robots Use Kirigami Piezoelectric Sensor Skin
'A worthy opponent was the golem.'
Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
'Soon we'll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.'
Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End
'Cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories