Electronic Telepathy

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Electronic Telepathy or e-telepathy is a sub-trope of Telepathy. In most cases characters using telepathic powers will do so by using some kind of supernatural force or a highly evolved biological mechanism that comes thanks to being a Sufficiently Advanced Alien. However, in some cases a character will have no natural or supernatural telepathic ability and instead use a Neural Interface to gain this power. In this form of telepathy, thoughts are converted from impulses in the brain (electric activity produced by neuron reaction potentials) into digital signals that can then be broadcast artificially to another e-telepath using radio waves or some other form of wireless communication.

This form of telepathy is different from others in that it does not allow Mind Reading, since a person must be actively transmitting a signal in order for another to receive it. However, is possible for an enterprising cyborg to "mind hack" another user of an implant and monitor their thoughts without their permission, similar to infecting a computer with spyware.

Examples of Electronic Telepathy include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Ghost in the Shell this is one of the many advantages of having a cyberbrain. Characters can communicate with each other without physically speaking, which is useful if you are trying to keep quiet to avoid detection or eavesdroppers. Of course, wirelessly broadcast connections are open to being spied on, so for very important conversations cyborgs sometimes directly connect to one another using cables.
  • This is how the Misaka clones maintain their Hive Mind in A Certain Magical Index, but using their inherent electrical abilities to act as living radio transmitters (and receivers). It is unknown[please verify] if Mikoto (who they were cloned from) is able to do it as well but it stands to reason since she is more powerful than them and should be able to do anything to do anything they're capable of.

Comic Books

  • The Authority uses "radiotelepathy", a communications network of nanoscale radio implants that allow brain-to-brain communication.

Literature

  • In Animorphs the main characters can send thought messages when they're in morph. The cube that gave them the morphing power apparently gave them this as well.
  • This form of telepathy is used in The History of the Galaxy novel series by cybreakers to enter the mind of another person via implants that everyone has in their brains. They can read thoughts, conduct Mind Rape, and even fry the victim's brain. Actual telepathy exists in this 'verse but is natural only to the Insect race. Certain brain scanners are also able to translate EEG scans into roughly-approximated thoughts based on a chart developed for all humans.
  • The soldiers in Old Man's War have a computer embedded in their brain which lets them do this.

Live-Action Television

  • In Dollhouse, the Rossum Corporation developed a breed of Hive Mind-ed supersoldiers who communicated this way. However, the hive mind had a weakness in that if someone else could tap into it, they could royally screw up the mental communication between soldiers.

Web Comics

  • It's never spelled out, but this appears to be how the Martians' collective consciousness works in A Miracle of Science: faster-than-light communications gear (which may or may not be the same thing as the radio communication demonstrated on numerous occasions) incorporated into the nanotech that suffuses their bodies.
  • One of the "upgrades" that CORE soldiers in SSDD can get.
  • Relays in Alien Dice allow this.
  • Schlock Mercenary
    • One of the relatively minor characters from a species that evolved a natural form of this, specifically an organic radio transmitter/receiver. The one shown has a single consciousness split across two bodies. With a little added hardware his range is extended to the point where he can pilot two separate tanks simultaneously with a level of tactical co-ordination that normally only an AI can manage.
    • Later the mercenaries discovered a true Hive Mind species. Which in turn discovered convenience of range extension via hypernode implants, too.

Web Originals

  • In Darwin's Soldiers, Dragonstorm has an entire "thought network" which is exactly this. Mole Shelton brings some of the chips for the main characters to use.

Western Animation

  • The Mindnet device in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. It was used mostly to crank up the abilities of existing psychics (The Queen and Niko), but was used by Nimrod during "Battle of the Bandits" to stupefy an audience already ensnared by The Power of Rock.