My new thought.

samhall robhayman at
Fri Feb 23 14:35:13 EST 2001

and who said scientists weren't creative......
"Richard Norman" <rsnorman at> wrote in message
news:Kzul6.4744$v_1.474996 at
> One major problem with your idea is that nerve cells are really quite
> tightly packed.  If you could, for example, eavesdrop on a peripheral
> nerve from some distance and actually see all the action potentials,
> you still have the monumental problem of separating the activity in
> one cell from that of another which lies only a few hundredths of a
> millimeter away.   Somehow you would have to interpret what the
> nerve activity "means" rather than identify activity purely by location.
> This could be done by recording all the signals in a large
> 3-dimensional region over time.  You could then associate the
> source and destination of each nerve impulse, as well as its
> conduction velocity, to give you what you need to interpret
> just what the signal means (not really, but without too much
> suspension of disbelief!).  Nerve signals do produce electrical
> and magnetic fields.  Suitably advanced detection devices
> coupled with incredibly powerful computational ability might
> give you a credible basis for what you want to do.
> Recording motor activity is much easier, the muscles are larger
> and often widely separated.  So you could monitor the movements
> that someone makes, but interpreting their sensory input would be
> more difficult.  And copying that activity to another individual would
> be even trickier -- there is no guarantee that the other person has
> just the same assortment of individual neurons and certainly not
> in the same exact geometric location. But I believe the recipient
> of the information in your tale is participating voluntarily, so that
> person could have electrodes implanted to generate the
> appropriate nerve signals.  It would be a far more difficult to
> stimulate someone in the way you want surreptitiously.
> "MEShinder" <meshinder at> wrote in message
> news:20010222230136.01945.00002497 at
> > Would it be nice to read electrical impulses without intrusion... The
> problem
> > as to why we can't do this currently no matter how scientifically useful
> is
> > that if you use external measurements of magnetic or electic fields
> is
> > just too much noise. Remember, musculature also produces currents (hence
> the
> > ECG), not to mention the fact that your dealing with a great big, wet,
> volume
> > conductor. Then comes the problem of picking out individual signals.
> is
> > hard enough if you're sitting on the nerve, much less five feet away.
> >
> > However, as a fictional piece you might look into the work that's being
> done
> > with cell phones where the phones' transmission reflections off of the
> body are
> > sent back to the receiving station. I forget who exactly is doing this,
> but
> > their current direction was a sort of medic-alert function for cellular
> > customers. I think that they can get pretty good signals for cardiac
> > assessment. You could stretch this to get what you want if you could
> > auto-majically filter out everything but the "pain" signals. A bit of a
> > stretch, but it is fictive.
> >

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