By: Nick Gambino
With huge strides forward in tech in just the last decade, it seems we’ve conquered just about everything sci-fi writers of old predicted. Everywhere we turn there’s some high-tech device that makes the gadgets we saw in Star Trek look more like souped-up Legos.
Now it seems like one yet-to-be conquered area might finally get its shine. Openwater, a tech company founded by former Oculus and Facebook engineering executive Mary Lou Jepsen, is developing a wearable that can read minds. She hopes to have it ready by 2025.
The idea, according to the inventor, is simple: take an MRI machine and shrink it down. “I figured out how to put basically the functionality of an M.R.I. machine – a multimillion-dollar M.R.I. machine – into a wearable in the form of a ski hat,” Jepsen explained to CNBC. “The really big moonshot idea here is communication with thought – with telepathy.”
Now for those of us who question how a device, not too dissimilar from an MRI machine, can read the brain and thus read thoughts, the Openwater site links to some convincing research on the subject. While we may never be able to see full-blown imagery like an X-men mutant might, the research suggests we can make some strong inferences from the activity of the brain.
While the prospect of a simple device that can read thought is a sexy notion, there’s so much more to this as-yet realized device.
“Openwater is creating a device that can enable us to see inside our brains or bodies in great detail,” the website reads. “With this comes the promise of new abilities to diagnose and treat diseases and well beyond – communicating with thought alone.”
The implications of such a device would be huge in the field of diagnosis and cures. But when it comes to telepathy there are also ethical implications. Luckily Jepsen is already considering that, “We’re trying to make the hat only work if the individual wants it to work, and then filtering out parts that the person wearing it doesn’t feel it’s appropriate to share.”
Whether we’ll actually see the full potential of this tech in the next 8 years (or ever) remains to be seen. Though just 10 years ago we couldn’t have imagined we’d have holographic smartphones but here we are.