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When I was a child, the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation was my first introduction to the concept of telepathy. I would watch, captivated, as my father occasionally talked to me with his mind. When our family went out to dinner, he could tell the waiters (and other patrons) what dishes we wanted to try, who we wanted to sit next to, which seats would be more comfortable. It felt like him talking to me.
For years, I thought telepathy was the stuff of science fiction only. I had a lot of negative thoughts about this ability, some of which have been documented in my book This Boy’s Life: Mind Control in the 21st Century, which was released in September.
I was wrong.
A little over a year ago, I became the first person to conduct a formal experiment with telepathy that was as controlled and rigorous as possible. When I first began this study using a technique called brain-computer interface, I had hoped I would get a good scientific demonstration of this ability. That soon turned out to be impossible.
For the past year and a half, I’ve been studying another sort of telepathy—one that I hope will benefit everyone. It’s called the mind-to-mind communication of people who have been profoundly disabled as a result of brain damage, such as those with locked-in syndrome, people in vegetative state or people who have never recovered consciousness after a traumatic brain injury such as a stroke. I started this research by making a video call with a paralyzed person from the University of Virginia, who I met at my home, a distance of 2,000 miles.
My research has resulted in two very important medical advances: an invention that could radically change the way people with locked-in syndrome live (my invention, Telemedicine), and the creation of software that will allow people