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. Obviously, this can lead to Mental Fusion or even a Hive Mind, just as non-technological telepathy can. 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, it 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.
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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. In one episode of Stand Alone Complex, Batou and the Major even keep a conversation hidden from the Tachikomas by hiding their cyber-telepathic communication and using their actual lips to have a completely different conversation—at the same time!
- This is how the MISAKA clones maintain their Hive Mind in A Certain Magical Index, using their inherent electricity-manipulation powers to act as living radio transceivers. While Mikoto (who they were cloned from) is theoretically able to do it as well since she is stronger and has far greater control than them, she doesn't have the proper training to be able to interface with the network.
- Mobile Suit Gundam and its many sequels has the Psycommu ("Psychic Communicator") system, a machine designed to pick up the psychic emanations from Newtypes and use them as a means of communication. This allows a Newtype to control a properly equipped machine by thought alone, and is usually used to explain how the pilots are able to control the various kinds of Attack Drones.
- The Authority uses "radiotelepathy", a communications network of nanoscale radio implants that allow brain-to-brain communication.
- Demolition Man: In the future, people use this for having sex. The idea of doing it the normal way disgusts them.
- 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.
- The soldiers in Old Man's War have a computer embedded in their brain which lets them do this.
- 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.
- In Heart of Steel, Alistair Mechanus has a mental link with his robots and his computer network through his cybernetic implants.
- In MARZENA, when entering Dr. Sam's mind thanks to drugs and Virtual Reality, Lauren and Kristen communicates with each other using digital telepathy, thanks to nanobots reading their brain activity by sending wireless signals when entering inside dilated brain vessels acting therefore like mini MRI machines.
- Eldraeverse: The Precursors genetically engineered the eldrae to have organic radio transmitters in their brains.
- In Ancillary Justice, this is used to link the cybernetic ancillaries to their ship’s Hive Mind and used in a similar manner by the emporer, who is a Hive Mind of linked clones. To a lesser extent, Radchaai ships and station can also use this to read the perceptions and emotions sent by implants in their human inhabitants, and ability Breq keeps from her time as a ship.
- In The Empress Game, Dolan's speciality using technology to replicate, enhance, and deploy Wyrd telepathy. The things he did with it, though, caused him to be stripped of his own psi powers and exiled. They didn't seem to consider that his technology might allow him to regain his powers.
- In the short story "Tableau" by James White, one side in an interstellar war develops a "mentacom" device that allows a ship's crew to communicate mentally, after finding battle noise too disruptive to vocal communication. When two pilots, one from each side, end up marooned together after a battle, the mentacom makes it possible for them to communicate with each other and make the first steps toward a peace.
Live Action TV
- The Borg in the various Star Trek series have built-in "neural transceivers" to connect their minds into the Collective. Each Borg ship contains a device called a "vinculum" which transmits, receives and edits thoughts to and from connected Borg drones so as to suppress their individuality and direct them in performing their designated functions.
- 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.
- While being interrogated in the Doctor Who series, "The Space Museum", the Doctor is put up against a device that can transmit his thoughts onto a screen. The intent is to get answers based on what the Doctor thinks when asked a question, regardless of what he says out loud. It fails, as the Doctor just transmits images of random things such as an old-style big-wheeled bicycle when asked how he got there.
- The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Living Hell", a doctor saves a wounded man's life by implanting an experimental neutral transmitter in his brain. A side effect of this is that he can now see the thoughts of an elusive serial killer who was given the same implant and had faked his own death afterwards.
- ''Limetown: The scientists in Limetown were trying to figure out how to do this.
- 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 S.S.D.D can get.
- Relays in Alien Dice allow this.
- One of the relatively minor characters in Schlock Mercenary is 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, and with a little added hardware to enable communication via hyperspace nodes 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.
- In A Girl and Her Fed, Agents can communicate this way via their implant.
- 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.
- In Voltron: Legendary Defender the five lions that form voltorn are explicitly said to be able to link with their pilot's minds allowing for more fluid control and the ability for the pilot to see through their lion's eyes.