Bio Cybernetics IILast time around, two issues ago, I reported on the process made by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) concerning computer recognition of human EEG patterns. I stated that this was a major breakthrough in the development of the true intelligence amplifier wherein the human nervous system was linked directly with the electronic circuitry of a large general purpose computer. Soon, the crystalline circuitry of the computer will be able to "understand" the colloidal circuitry of the human nervous system by direct linkage through electromagnetic fields.
And I left you hanging by your fingernails on a figurative cliff overhanging an ammonia sea swarming with methane monsters, so to speak.
I stated that seventeen years ago the breakthrough had been made that would permit the colloidal circuitry of the nervous system to "understand" the crystalline circuitry of the electronic computer. In other words, if the computer signal was in the proper form, the human nervous system could pick up and decipher the electronic computer signal through an electromagnetic field.
In early 1962, I was working as assistant director of research for the Huyck Corporation in Milford, Connecticut. Dr. William O. Davis was the director of research, and he had been charged by the company to look for new products to insure that Huyck would be in business twenty five years hence. There were no caveats placed on us at that time. We could look at or for anything....and we did. Then as now I have all sorts of pipelines into the back rooms of various research and development organizations here and abroad; a science fact or science fiction writer really cant function properly without these contacts. My most valuable Little Black Spy was the former editor of this magazine. John W. Campbell, who in turn had an incredible network of Little Black Spies.
Campbell told me of an 18 year old boy in Texas who had invented a spectacular new hearing aid. I made a telephone call, talked to the boy, and was on a plane to Houston within days.
G. Patrick Flanagan of Ballaire Texas was a boy genius. In addition to being an outstanding gymnast and a pilot, this high school graduate had stumbled upon a technique of introducing audio information directly into the human nervous system without loudspeakers or earphones, and without direct electrical connection between his gadget and the nervous system.
On July 24, 1962 in Bellaire, Texas in Flanagan's shop in the attic of his parents home, I personally witnessed proof-of-principle demonstration of a direct linkage between a crystalline electronic circuit and the colloidal system of the human nervous system.
The device called the "neurophone" by Flanagan, was a very simple gadget. It used those ancient devices known as vacuum tubes. It used a 6L6G tube running as a 35 Kilohertz oscillator; the output of the oscillator was amplitude-modulated by the output of ant single channel hi-fi system through suitable impedance matching transformers, etc. This amplitude modulated 35 kilohertz signal then went through a cheapie stepup transformer so that the output was very high voltage (about 4 kilovolts, as I remember) but at very high impedance. Flanagan fed this signal through a length of ordinary TV antenna twin lead to a pair of rubber pads about six inches in diameter that he had filched from a "relaxicisor" muscle relaxing device. Each pad consisted of a 1/16 inch thick rubber sheet, a piece of copper window screen to which was soldered one of the wires of the twin lead, and the rubber covering of the relaxicisor pad. The rubber insulation kept one from getting zapped, although the shock wasnt painful....just annoying.
Put a signal into the neurophone input, peak the frequency, peak the modulation to 100%, and then hold the two pads to your body....anywhere.
And you heard music playing in your head!
Although the pads worked better and you got a louder signal with the pads on your bare skin, it would work through a layer of clothing.
And it worked regardless of where you put the two pads! You could put one on your shoulder and the other on the sole of your foot...and you would still hear whatever program material was being played into the neurophone form the hi-fi system.
I can freely describe this today because (a) I dont think Flanagan's patent application ever got accepted and I dont believe the patent ever issued. (b) Huyck Corporation is off doing its classic thing of making paper machine parts and isnt interested in the slightest, and (c) I think the time is just about right to get going on this little gadget again.
Flanagan had succeeded where others had failed. Dr Henry Puharich had succeeded in developing a similar device, but the pads were one inch copper plates that had to be rubbed along the skin to achieve the "fricative effect" to permit Puharich's gadget to work.
In a series of long and complex experiments conducted under my supervision at Huyck and by Dr Wayne Batteau at Tuffs, it was conclusively shown that the neurophone effect not the result of (a) the pads acting as electrostatic loudspeakers, (b) the pads exciting bone conduction of the sound, or (c) the pads activating the eighth cranial nerve. Although I tried the neurophone an a nerve deaf medical doctor at COLUMBIA JESUIT UNIVERSITY in 1965, I kept the experiment running for only about ten minutes. Dr Wayne Batteau tried it at Tufts and succeed because the brain of his nerve deaf subject had "forgotten how to hear" and needed something over an hour of application of the neurophone signal in order to begin to hear in his brain again! We know now that the Flanagan neurophone operated by direct linkage of the electronic circuitry with the nervous system through electromagnetic fields. We know now that the nervous system will pick up any signal and send it to the brain where the brain recognizes the signal according to the sensory data it represents, then switches the signal to the proper sector of the brain responsible for processing such signals. But we dont know how Flanagan accidentally happened to crack the neural code for audio data.
I can assure you that the Flanagan neurophone is no hoax. Many responsible people experienced it. Just before his death, Dr William O. Davis gave me one of the neurophones we had built at Huyck; I still have it, but a two hour search through my uncatalogued archives of scientific memorabilia and trivia failed to locate it this morning. Im going to dig it out and try it again for fun. And because it does represent a breakthrough that will permit electronic computers to communicate directly to our nervous systems...by putting on a beanie, and not plugging a cable into a socket implanted on the top of our heads!
The DARPA work with computers deciphering human EEG signals, plus the Flanagan neurophone capable of permitting a computer to communicate directly with a human, both make inevitable the final computer; the use of the computer as a extension to the human brain as an intelligence amplifier for the human being.
Now, what happened with the Flanagan neurophone, and why havent you heard more about it? I am not sure that it is because of the reaction of Big Science as discussed by Jerry Pournelle last month. There were several factors involved.
First of all, it didnt look like Huyck could get a patent position, so they wanted out. They also discovered that the Huyck Corporate Research Laboratories were producing more inventions, patents, and potential new products than the company could possibly absorb. Huyck also got into production trouble with several products that have come along before Corporate Research entered the picture. So Huyck dropped the entire corporate research program, writing off about 2.5 million spent over a five year period. They also convinced themselves that they could not afford to develop the marketing know-how for any of the new products we were coming up with. They succumbed, as have so many other small companies, to the "Harvard Business School Syndrome": Dont develop new technology and products yourself, but wait until somebody else does and then buy the whole schmear, product, production, and marketing know-how in a big package. My employment agreement was written in a way that I wasnt sure what I could talk about....then.
Dr. Wayne Batteau suffered a fatal heart attack in Hawaii while diving with dolphins. He had also done considerable work in that area.
I dont know where Flanagan is. He worked for NASA in Houston for a time in computer programming. The last I knew, he was somewhere in California as one of the top experts pyramidology. I suspect I will hear from him as a result of this, and Ill welcome it.
Big Science did not kill the neurophone. It was complacent, and it really didnt know anything about the device. Academia was not really consulted. The neurophone has been dormant for fourteen years now because of the failure of nerve and imagination in the sales and marketing department.
But, now, there appears to be a need for the neurophone to take the final step toward direct communication between ourselves and our crystalline symbiotes/servants, the electronic computers.
Yes, I am still interested in this area. I am interested in anything and everything. But do not-repeat, repeat do not write to me or telephone me and ask for free information. I am a writer and a consultant, and my business is information...and the only thing of real value that you or I have in this world is time. I didnt write this soliciting business; I wrote it to report to you that the intelligence amplifier is just around the corner and awaiting you bright people out there to put it together right so that humans stay in control of intelligence amplifiers.
Now, what can we do in the future to integrate the creative process of "invention" more fully into the process of research, development, production, and marketing? Hang in there......
If you thought the above article is science fiction: See a crazy invention: