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Large-Scale Wave Amplification - Is it plausible?

  1. Jan 15, 2014 #1
    I'm currently writing a novel regarding a civil war on an alien planet - I plan to keep the book fairly grounded in realism with the exception of the existence of the aliens themselves. (This also means that there's no FTL-travel; the story remains on one planet, and humans do not make an appearance.)

    One issue I'm facing is whether it would be plausible to amplify brain waves to a large enough strength to enable what would functionally be telekinesis, as an experimental weapon being researched by one of the factions. I have read that waves of energy do carry enough momentum to move matter in large enough quantities, but I don't know how one could plausibly amplify the incredibly small radiation emitted by the brain.

    Practicality and control is no object - it's a highly experimental technology in-universe. But I just want to know if there was, theoretically, a possible way to increase the power of radiation by such a large magnitude.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2014 #2
    If you're talking "read the brainwaves and produce an amplified signal of the same frequencies, created by a carefully built device" then it's just an engineering problem. A complicated one, but it's still possible.

    If it's "amplify the brain waves so that they are, themselves, made so powerful that they can move physical objects" then unless your aliens have wavehandium for blood, their brains would be overloaded and electrocuted long before there was enough energy to manipulate even a few grams (assuming that whichever energy is used for telekinesis is somewhat electrical or electromagnetic in nature).
  4. Jan 16, 2014 #3
    I was thinking #2 before I posted, but looking here, #1 sounds very doable. (I could even use #2 early on as a point of drama at some point - a failed prototype based on a misguided theory, maybe.) Thank you for your help.
  5. Jan 17, 2014 #4
    Something that might help you is that, in a sense, we already do this and have been doing for a while. A popular example would be direct neuroprosthetics research by Dr Andrew Schwartz (the monkey controlling a robotic arm with its brain back in 2008 if you search BBC news.)

    As long as a piece of tech can interpret the electrochemical changes in your brain, that piece of tech can then elicit whatever action your faction desires.

    But like StrayCatalyst said, if your premise is literal in the use of "brain waves" (look up Electroencephalography) to cause damage to another... you could, and this one's for free ;-) use it as a fictional analogue of suicide bombers and derive your drama from that.

    Aside from that I'm giddy with excitement for old skool 50's sci-fi mind blowy uppy-ness your premise has within it :-D
  6. Jan 21, 2014 #5
    I'm glad I found such a helpful community with this. I was having writers' block for a bit, but now I'm feeling all inspired again.

    Wellp, time to get writing! :D
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