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Sony to beam games into your brain

Patent granted for new technique that could help blind or deaf people and create games you can smell.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Sony Corporation has successfully patented a technique for creating games where you can smell, taste and touch what's around you.

Here's the sciencey bit: ultrasonic pulses are beamed at certain areas of the brain to transmit sensory information, creating "sensory experiences" - including aromas, sounds and images - for the brain's owner.

The patent, which was awarded to Sony researcher Thomas Dawson, states that "The pulsed ultrasonic signal alters the neural timing in the cortex," if that means anything to you.

Don't worry though, Sony aren't after sticking microchips in our heads just yet: "No invasive surgery is needed", apparently. Shame.

The technique could also be used to help blind and deaf people "to view live and/or recorded images or hear sounds," the patent stated.

Speaking to New Scientist magazine, neuroscientist Niels Birbaumer said he had examined Sony's patent and "found it plausible". Birbaumer works at the University of Tuebingen in Germany and has himself invented a machine that reads brain waves, enabling disabled people to communicate.

Don't get too excited, though - Sony won't be beaming us up for some time yet. No experiments have yet been conducted, a Sony Electronics spokeswoman told New Scientist, adding that the patent "was based on an inspiration that this may someday be the direction that technology will take us."

We'll bring you more on Sony's mindbeamer just as soon as we've finished work on our foil hats.

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