Metamaterials are artificial composites that can interact with electromagnetic waves, including visible light. Our brains generate electromagnetic waves as they process information. The brain waves can trigger changes in metamaterials. Not exactly like telekinesis and telepathy in science fiction, but the research can have applications in real-life scenarios.
In a study, researchers used a brainwave extraction module. It allowed volunteers to control a metasurface—a 2D version of metamaterials—with their minds alone. The whole system is wireless and relies on Bluetooth. They extracted brainwaves from the volunteer as she relaxed or concentrated and, through a controller, changed how the linked metasurface scattered light, a futuristic demonstration of using the mind to control physical material (telekinesis).
Different metasurfaces can “talk” to each other based on electromagnetic properties. In another study, the research team hooked up two people to metasurfaces to text with their minds. One volunteer was the transmitter, the other the receiver. By concentrating, the transmitter’s brain waves changed the metasurface’s properties to encode different binary messages. Upon decoding, the receiver got the text—all without lifting a single finger (telepathy).
For now, such a futuristic tech (like telekinesis) is still in its infancy. But scientists imagine they’ll one day be able to use metamaterials for a myriad of purposes: monitoring the attention status of a driver, for example, or incorporating them into non-invasive brain-machine interfaces.