The Null Device
Sony have received a patent on a technology for inducing sensory experiences by ultrasonically stimulating the brain; it works similarly to the transcranial magnetic stimulation used in the "God helmet", which stimulates the sensation of a supernatural or religious experience, only on a finer level. The patent is here; perhaps this means that we can expect a PlayStation accessory that induces the authentic visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory sensations of stalking cyborg terrorists through the ventilation ducts of an alien space station or whatever.
The pattern of energy is constructed such that each portion of the pattern projected into the neural cortex may be individually pulsed at low frequency. The system produces low frequency pulsing by controlling the phase differences between the emitted energy of the primary and secondary transducer array elements. The pulsed ultrasonic signal alters the neural firing timing in the cortex. Changes in the neural firing timing induce various sensory experiences depending on the location of the firing timing change in the cortex. The mapping of sensory areas of the cortex is known and used in current surgically invasive techniques. Thus, the system induces recognizable sensory experiences by applying ultrasonic energy pulsed at low frequency in one or more selected patterns on one or more selected locations of the cortex.
Approximately 5% of the population of Poland is expected to go to Rome for the Pope's funeral this week.
Pilgrims have been queuing at Warsaw's central station all week hoping to land a coveted seat on the trains leaving today. LOT, the national airline, is struggling to cope with the demand and Poles are said to be buying tickets for any destinations heading south that may get them closer to Rome.
(I wonder if the Polish mass exodus will spread to London. If so, don't count on food stalls at street markets being open this weekend.)