Reverse Engineering Mind Control

NASA Research: Reading Thoughts Using Electromyography

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Victims of mind control report having their thoughts read especially those that are verbalized internally otherwise know as subvocal speech. Subvocal speech happens also when we read although some “speed reading” techniques try to get you to stop doing this because it slows the reading process down. It has long been known that during subvocal speech electrical signals are still sent to those muscles of the face and throat that participate in ordinary speech even though no sounds are generated. These signals can be detected in the form of electromyograms (EMG) using electrodes placed in the face and neck area.

In the previous article we saw how Lawrence Pinneo found some success in using electromyograms and electroencephalograms to detect thoughts in the form of subvocal speech. That was thirty years ago, this article looks at current day attempts to do this through the work of Charles Jorgenson at NASA. Jorgensen works at NASA’s Ames Research Center where  they have been investigating alternative methods of communication and control in hostile environments where normal methods are not always possible. Examples include astronauts, fighter pilots and rescue workers.

In contrast to Pinneo, Jorgensen placed electrodes in the neck region only. In the first stage of processing signals from the electrodes were sampled at up to 10,000 times per second and run through a 60 HZ notch filter to exclude line interference and band pass filters to remove anything outside the 30 – 500 HZ range.

The next stage in processing marks a major change from Pinneo’s work in which the data is transformed from the time domain to the frequency domain. Jorgensen experimented with a number of transforms including Fourier and Wavelet transforms to do this and seemed to settle on a quad tree wavelet transform.

During the final phase features extracted from the transforms were input into different machine learning algorithms to train the system to pattern match the words or phonemes being examined. Jorgensen experimented with a number of techniques including neural networks and support vector machines. Once the system had been trained it was then used to attempt to match against new signals. In a range of different applications was able to achieve around 74% success for small vocabulary sets of up to 15 words.

The results continue to prove the feasibility of thought reading using subvocal recognition. However given the vast increase in computing power plus the many advancemnets in signal processing and pattern recognition since Pinneo’s time these results are somewhat disappointing although I should point out that nothing has been published by Jorgensen in 2-3 years. Not sure if we  should read anything into that.

Despite this, some companies are looking to commercialize this technology. For example NTT DoCoMo are working on a subvocal mobile phone with the idea that people can answer their phone without annoying those around them such as in a movie theater. NASA are also working with QUASAR corporation to develop better sensors. In April 2006 Forbes magazine published an article on Jorgensen’s work entitled The Silent Speaker:

Jorgensen sees the day when electromagnetic sensors will be woven into the fibers of turtlenecks or rescue workers’ outfits. “As long as people have had machines and tools, they’ve been dependent on the physicality of the body,” Jorgensen says. “Separate those control activities from the body and it opens a whole new generation of interface design.”

QUASAR recently announced that it is working with NASA Ames Research Center to develop a hands-free UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) control system based on subvocal speech and forearm EMG. The purpose of the system is to allow soldiers to control the devices without having to set down their weapons or other equipment.

In December 2001 NASA’s Ames Research Center made a presentation to NorthWest Airlines in which they stated that they were working with a commercial partner to develop neuro-electric sensors to remotely monitor the EEG and ECG of passengers at airport security. This information was leaked to the Washington Times which published an article about it. The article drew denials from NASA and the Washington Times no longer has the article up on their site. The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained details of the presentation under the Freedom of Information Act which can be seen here.


  1. The Silent Speaker, David Armstrong, Forbes Magazine, April 10 2006

Written by ti29187

February 9, 2008 at 6:53 pm

One Response

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