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Sony wants your brains

Written by Dave Horvath @ 18 Aug 2007 11:35 User comments (27)

Sony wants your brains Remember the older commercial from Sony that was intended to show off the power of the PS2 by showing a fully immersed virtual reality gaming situation? The commercial showed a young man in the future battling people on the streets, swimming in a vast ocean and even playing Jai-Alai across the towering buildings. It was dubbed the Playstation 9.
Well as outlandish as the commercial may have looked at the time, far be it from Sony to think of it as merely a well thought out marketing scheme. Sony, in cooperation with scientists in San Diego have patented a technology for non-invasive brain targeting devices that essentially shoot ultrasound waves to stimulate brain tissue and create "sensory experiences" such as touch, taste, sight, smell and sound. One additional claim is that this technology could be used for a more noble cause such as allowing the blind to see, or the deaf to hear.

Admittedly, brain implants become more and more sophisticated by the day, however non-invasive brain manipulation such as this is still rather crude in design and practice. There are already techniques that employ such manipulation. One such technique is known as transcranial magnetic stimulation and relies on magnetic fields to activate nerves within the brain tissue. The problem with this technology is it cant be focused well enough to to concentrate on a small area of brain tissue, like ultrasound can.

There are very few details at all about this patent and news sources have attempted to get Sony to comment on the patent, but Sony refuses to interview or discuss this matter. It seems odd however that independent experts in the science field don't completely dismiss this idea as out of hand or improbable. Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, who has created devices that allow people to control devices via brain waves stated, "I looked at it and found it plausible."

Sony first submitted the patent application for the ultrasound manipulation in 2000 and it was approved in March of 2003. Since then, Sony has filed a series of extensions, as recent as December 2004.

Elizabeth Boukis, a spokeswoman for Sony Electronics states that the work is speculative at best. "There were not any experiments done. This particular patent was a prophetic invention. It was based on an inspiration that this may someday be the direction that technology will take us."

New Scientist

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27 user comments

118.8.2007 11:49

all your brains are belong to us

218.8.2007 12:18

I really can't see this becoming a video game trend, but it might be cool in the medical field.

318.8.2007 12:19

Just wait until the porn industry jumps on this technology.

418.8.2007 12:41

Spend less on this type of rubbish and reduce console prices would be much more appreciated i think.

518.8.2007 12:47

Originally posted by Unfocused:
Just wait until the porn industry jumps on this technology.
Umm - I think that movie was on TV the other day... Strange days

618.8.2007 14:01

"Batman Forever" anyone?

718.8.2007 14:25

Originally posted by hikaricor:
all your brains are belong to us
How will they utilise this, ADVERTISING!

"the ps3 is good and not expensive ppl."

Originally posted by link:
NEW YORK—Sony Corporation chairman and CEO Howard Stringer gave the public a first glimpse of Steve, the latest model in the company’s highly anticipated line of ideal electronics consumers, during the Sony Corporation of America’s annual stockholders meeting Monday.
Enlarge Image Sony Customer

The new Steve will buy Sony products.

The 72-inch, 195-pound consumer—a 34-year-old unmarried financial analyst—is smaller, lighter, and swifter than last year’s beta-model consumer, Larry.

“Larry was much less mobile, which worked well for electronics enjoyment but less so for purchasing,” said Hideo Ichimonji, head of the design team for the Ideal Consumer Project. “Also, the Larry’s decision-processing became jammed when forced to choose from more than one potential Sony product. By implementing parallel-purchasing solutions and simplifying its personality traits, we’ve ensured that Steve will always be a loyal Sony customer without any annoying system shutdowns or buying freezes.”

Sony expects Steve to usher in a whole new generation of ideal consumers.

“With Steve, we’re introducing a range of cutting-edge consumer attributes that other electronics manufacturers can only dream of,” Stringer said during the half-hour demonstration, in which Steve smoothly and quickly selected high-end Sony home-theater components it researched on a Sony VAIO laptop while interfacing with Sony customers worldwide using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.

“The integration of Steve’s simultaneous multi-credit-card-processing capabilities with its high earning capability allows our new U.S.-market flagship consumer to purchase our entire North American product line in a single clock cycle.”

Steve sports larger, pre-calloused thumbs and is fully backwards-compatible with Sony’s complete line of merchandise, extending back to the Trinitron television and cassette Walkman. Its debt threshold is also nearly two-thirds higher.

Several thousand Steves will be shipped to Asia and Europe for test-shopping next month. Steve will come in six different colors, with analysts expecting the white and yellow models to be much more successful than the black version.

Designers say Steve’s recharging capability is an improvement over Larry’s bulky and cumbersome charge port, which resembled a La-Z-Boy recliner.

“Steve can recharge on any reasonably comfortable surface, including a couch, desktop, floor, futon—anywhere that’s within range of a Sony product,” said Ichimonji, who also described the automatic sleep mode that activates when Steve has been out of contact with a Sony product for more than 30 minutes. “The Steve also has the power to consume our products on-the-go for up to three days on one charge. It’s also got a friendlier interface and improved social skills, and loves talking about Sony products in any social setting.”

Added Ichimonji: “Or you can just put Steve in front of an HDTV or send it on its way with a Sony PSP, and you’ll forget he even exists.”

Industry experts have praised the redesign, particularly the enormous numbers of visual, aural, and purchasing-suggestion inputs Steve can support. But the most talked-about feature seems to be its built-in anti-obsolescence feature, which enables it to continuously upgrade its preferences for Sony merchandise.

“Steve definitely looks to be an improvement,” said gaming enthusiast Jennie Weathers, 28, who planned to attend a demonstration at a Las Vegas electronics trade show this weekend. “The Larry was clunky, slow, and always making noise. Steve has a lot more free time and the flexibility to adapt to Sony retail stores and shopping sites like SonyStyle. And it seems like he’ll require very little upkeep or attention, but he’ll still be there when I just want to chill out and watch DVDs on my Sony WEGA HDTV or need some quick cheat tips for Kingdom Hearts II.”

Analysts say that Steve’s only real competition comes from Apple Computer’s own ideal consumer, the iBuy. But because the much more expensive iBuy is designed only to purchase and enjoy the pricier, but limited Apple product line, and is not intershoperable with other systems, Steve’s appeal will likely prove much broader.

Steve is scheduled for release in August, and Sony plans to have hundreds of thousands of models perusing store shelves by Christmas.

818.8.2007 15:31

Originally posted by Pride1:
"Batman Forever" anyone?
LOL, I was thinking the same thing.

918.8.2007 16:13

Originally posted by Unfocused:
Just wait until the porn industry jumps on this technology.
Can't wait.

1018.8.2007 17:05

When xbox uses this technology, 1 in 3 people will have severe brain damage and or die. Anyway.... The technology sounds great, the closer they get to putting my brain in a cyborg the better.

1118.8.2007 19:26

Just cause its patented doesn't mean its going to come out, I remember Nintendo patented a online chat for the n64 that never came out so this is just another one of their schemes to get people to realize that sony is trying to do something "new".

1218.8.2007 19:56

That's nice to see Sony researching our brains for manipulation. All gamers will be under their control. Why get a PS9 with this sensory technology when you can easily pop some acid, boomers, or a spliff for the same effect, probably a lot cheaper too!

1318.8.2007 20:50

why do you all think this is for manipulation. i'm sure there will be plenty of people examining every aspect of this tech, not to mention the shit anyone would get into for doing so. only once the g-men get a hold of this on a large scale should we be afraid. i love seeing technology previously deemed impossible popping up. just make sure its independantly regulated.

1418.8.2007 22:45

it cant really be a "prophetic invention" because patents only allow two years to develop a prototype or plans to be valid unless you file for an extention. so they have to obviously have plans of some sort to implement this technology. remember patents have no purpose unless the are marketable inventions.

1519.8.2007 8:43

they did file for extentions, didnt you see?

1619.8.2007 17:39

I know they filed for an extention but that obviously means they currently have plans to create a device to implement this technology.

1720.8.2007 10:04

suppose that means sony can release crap games,and make you think there good and the best ever games "play more" ..
.."buy more" ...."microsoft is your enemy"

1820.8.2007 16:03

I totally can't wait for this tech to replace traditional interactive entertainment.


1920.8.2007 17:04

If this truly result in a more immersive experience for the consumer, who cares if Sony makes it? Yes, they have had their share of failures in the past, but does that automatically mean that they are not allowed to try something new?

Sony's problem has never been innovation, it has always been implementation. Yes, they are greedy and don't want anybody else to touch their stuff, but they have been around for a long time, and probably will be around for a long time to come.

Besides if it something cool (yet overpriced), this just means somebody else will make a similar product with more features for less money.

2021.8.2007 8:22

ur post was really revealing

2121.8.2007 22:19

Next thing you know they put DRM on your brain waves :P

2222.8.2007 7:25

Originally posted by borhan9:
Next thing you know they put DRM on your brain waves :P
LOL, you are only allowed to remember the song you purchased once. You have to pay to "re-play" it in your mind again.

2322.8.2007 9:09

Originally posted by blackvamp:
Originally posted by borhan9:
Next thing you know they put DRM on your brain waves :P
LOL, you are only allowed to remember the song you purchased once. You have to pay to "re-play" it in your mind again.
that's sony's idea of heaven, but with time expiring blu-rays expect to renew your film collection and an extortionate rate on as frequently as they can get away with!

2422.8.2007 21:07

renew your film collection and an extortionate rate on as frequently as they can get away with
They already try to do this with all the director cuts, super secret edition, never before seen, double disc, triple disc, 35th anniversary, etc. that they can come up with for the same movie.

2524.8.2007 10:44

I guess I'm the only person old enough to remember Natalie Wood & Christopher Walken in Brainstorm. :D This is exactly what that movie was about - it included the gaming aspect, education, porn, ESP-like thought transfer, & even psychological torture and what death looks like. Check it out...

2624.8.2007 15:01

wow this is crazy. i donno if this is even possible but if it were can you imagine the side effects it could have on the brain. i wouldn't wanna try this until i see people use it for 10 years.

2714.11.2007 10:57

Have any of you guys ever heard of ? It seems to
send free SMS messages in the UK, but does anyone have any experience with them?

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