The world in my story is going past the smartphone era.

To replace smartphones people wear a small device like a headphone. The device is not intrusive to their brain, it has nodes that read brain activity from outside the cranium.

Using the device they can browse, watch a video or even go to an immersive 3D digital world, while at the same time can process visual and auditory stimuli from outside (just like daydreaming, their concentration level may be halved but they can see and hear just right).

With softcore sci-fi explanation and as small handwavium as possible how can a start-Up company achieve to invent this device?

What is the closest method that most likely has the best potential to develop this device for now?

Plus point: if the device can read quantum entanglement pattern happening inside the brain.

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    $\begingroup$ This idea (in one form or another) has been around for a long time. From the movie, The President's Analyst to the book This Alien Shore, which is likely the most pertinent (and a recommended read for this topic). Everyone has cybernetic implants that let them mentally access the network. Kids play games where the tool overlays fanciful creatures on living people. Total interraction (in fact, the idea of a 3D digital world is a bit obsolete). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ Reminder to close-voters: The problem cannot be fixed if the OP is not made aware of it. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ There is no high-speed interface to the brain. The only nerve with significant bandwidth is the optical nerve, and not even the most optimistic researchers put it at more than 10 Mbit/sec, the bandwidth of the original Ethernet network of the 1990s. The good news is that there are already crude devices which interface directly with the optical nerve, developed to help blind people see. On the other hand, "quantum entanglement", hmmm. Humans are chemical machines. No, quantum entanglement plays no role whatsoever in the the human brain. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 12, 2018 at 19:45

3 Answers 3


First of all, what follows is handwaving - things don't work exactly this way for a number of reasons.

But you can imagine a series of not-too-unlikely breakthroughs:

  • advances in high-temperature superconductors allow the creation of a novel type of miniaturized SQUID sensor. (This is a key element in Robert J. Sawyer's The Terminal Experiment)
  • advances in processor design and fabrication techniques (probably using soft X-ray etching) lead to a new generation of ultra-low-voltage CPUs, whose low heat signature allow packing a whopper of computing power in a tiny package.
  • the above allow the application of SAR/phased array technology to brainwave monitoring.
  • advancements in AI allow the above to decode and predict in real time a human being's brain signals in a meaningful way, provided that they are wearing a suitable SQUID helmet and they have performed the necessary tuning and calibration - the "learning" phase.
  • more expensive devices are leaner, faster, require less learning and have longer-lasting batteries. Just like smartphones.

To all intents and purposes, this is a limited form of super-fMRI in real-time.

While reading one's thoughts is not quite there yet (or is it?), somatic stimuli, proprioception, voluntary muscle activation and other signals are readable - and, after a lengthy period of acclimatization and tuning, writeable.

(The potential for abuse is staggering. You can look for YGBM, assessing one's true affections, trustworthiness and beliefs, or in SF - The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton - something called persona-sequestrating nanonics. Or Larry Niven's current addicts. The simultaneous use of pain conditioning and feedback techniques would make the Manchurian Candidate or Beta Project look like a walk in the park in the good old days).

However, when all is said and done, the brain can be stimulated to "see", "smell", "hear", and in a limited way touch and taste, things that aren't there. In-brain VR is now possible.

Still more advanced systems could allow implanting memories: for example a politician or an executive looks at someone's face, and the helmet performs face recognition and dumps a short dossier on the guy directly in the user's working memory: he now knows the guy, his name, his tastes, his political agenda etc. - in the blink of an eye. The street price for such a device would go through the roof (and the "potential for abuse" knob is now set to 11).

  • $\begingroup$ This is the kind of answer that I expecting, and the best one so far. I would like to discuss as recently I found an opinion that maybe our consciousness is created as a pattern of quantum entanglement in our brain. Do you think we can read it with this type (but more advance) SQUID sensors? $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ Almost certainly not - you'd need physical access to the single neurons (possibly to the level of the microtubule latticework; I imagine you're referring to the Penrose-Hameroff theory) to do that. And it would be several orders of magnitude more complicated. But you can still heavily influence (and monitor) that consciousness from its neural activity pattern. $\endgroup$
    – LSerni
    Jun 12, 2018 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ one way to interfere with ,the brain is using Noninvasive Deep Brain Stimulation via Temporally Interfering Electric Fields .its a system that uses two or more high frequency eletric ocilations to generate an eletric current in the brain reception within the brain but not on the surface. $\endgroup$
    – Jão
    Jun 12, 2018 at 21:23

problem: Diminishing the user's level of attention is just plain dangerous. Going up as to half of it, is like calling for a serious accident.

This device would be better used if the user is standing, or in bed, or during work for work purposes.

Anyone who wanted to develop this very interesting device would need experts in neurology and nanotechnology. If you really want the user to live such a level of immersion, though, I fear it is necessary for a chip to be implanted in the user's brain. The chip would normally do nothing, until the 'headphone', which is the main input device, consisting of mike and glasses, is applied to the skull and recognized by the chip. only then, would be the user able to "Go Deep": The external device would tell the chip which areas of the brain to stimulate so that the experience start at its finest and safest way.

The road to this invention cannot be...well, something that happens on a random intuition. The company should be founded on the premises someone studied the idea and its details in a teamwork. Even one person can come up with a rough sketch of the idea, but you cannot go beyond that level without fine instrumentations.

Hope it helps. Nice idea!^^


Sorry for the short answer but

I think reading brainwaves without a psychical connection to the Brain, is unlikely to work out. humans don't emit there thoughts, nor do they have a movement dependent on those thoughts, you can't "check someones pulse" sort of thing and find out what they're thinking. with physical intrusive implants then in theory this could be done.

Alternative, mainly because its something being looked out even now

Heads up display glasses, have conventional looking glasses, not goolge glass, literally just regular looking glasses, which off the display they can naviagate the web etc by looking, hear things through speakers in the arms, and possibly even have an implant that connects behind the ear.

  • $\begingroup$ Incorrect. EEG headsets (non-invasive, sit on head) are already on the market, and are under continual improvement, from the commercial concerns through US DoD and British MoD - it's an emergent tech field. $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Signals in the brain are electrically observable, having metal touching them makes it easy, but saltwater (flesh) or air as the conductor is not physically impossible; just harder. fMRI studies have been pretty buzzy for decades. $\endgroup$
    – user25818
    Jun 12, 2018 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ @GerardFalla: The electromagnetic waves sensed by EEG devices are noise. The brain does not make them on purpose. You cannot read the state of the brain from the EM noise it produces, any more than you can read the state of a microprocessor from the EM noise is emanates. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 12, 2018 at 19:37

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