Friday, May 8, 2015


IMAGINE movies and computer games in which you get to smell, taste and perhaps even feel things. That's the tantalising prospect raised by a patent on a device for transmitting sensory data directly into the human brain - granted to none other than the entertainment giant Sony.
The technique suggested in the patent is entirely non-invasive. It describes a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating "sensory experiences" ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds. This could give blind or deaf people the chance to see or hear, the patent claims.
While brain implants are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the only non-invasive ways of manipulating the brain remain crude. A technique known as transcranial magnetic stimulation can activate nerves by using rapidly changing magnetic fields to induce currents in brain tissue.

US6536440 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/690,571
Publication dateMar 25, 2003
Filing dateOct 17, 2000
Priority dateOct 17, 2000
Fee statusPaid
Also published asUS6729337, US20030145864
Publication number09690571, 690571, US 6536440 B1, US 6536440B1, US-B1-6536440, US6536440 B1, US6536440B1
InventorsThomas P. Dawson
Original AssigneeSony Corporation, Sony Electronics, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for generating sensory data onto the human neural cortex
US 6536440 B1
A non-invasive system and process for projecting sensory data onto the human neural cortex is provided. The system includes a primary transducer array and a secondary transducer array. The primary transducer array acts as a coherent signal source, and the secondary transducer array acts as a controllable diffraction pattern that focuses energy onto the neural cortex in a desired pattern. In addition, the pattern of energy is constructed such that each portion projected into the neural cortex may be individually pulsed at low frequency. This low frequency pulsing is formed by controlling the phase differences between the emitted energy of the elements of primary and secondary transducer arrays.


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