In my last SLANT column I touched on the work being done that advances us toward a form of electronic-based telepathy. Mentalist will have to soon scramble to stay ahead of technology. Soon everyone will be able to read minds, find hidden checks, and so on.
It's interesting to note that Microsoft has patented the idea of using the human body as a computer. As an article in THE ECONOMIST put it: "This sounds like an April Fool's Day joke, but it isn't. Microsoft, that imperialist of the information-technology world, has actually succeeded in patenting the human body as a computer network. US Patent 6,754,472, issued to the company on June 22nd, is for a 'method and apparatus for transmitting power and data using the human body.' At the moment, ubergeeks who want to create a so-called personal area network (PAN) have to link their personal electronic devices--mobile phones, pagers, personal data assistants (PDAs) and so on--using infra-red or radio signals. What Microsoft is proposing is to use the skin's own conductive properties to transmit the data needed to create such a network. And the firm does not stop at people. A wide variety of living animals could be used to create computer buses, as they are known technically, in this manner.
"Microsoft suggests using the body to generate power for the network, too. A kinetic power converter in the wearer's shoe or wristwatch would produce electricity in the same way that an old-fashioned self-winding watch extracted energy from its owner's normal movements. Microsoft is keeping its cards close to its chest(Racherbaumer: See how this trope has infilitated the mainstream?), and has declined to comment on how, exactly, it intends to develop its patent into something that people will actually want to buy."
It seems to be more difficult, if not impossible, for magicians to stay ahead of the power-curve or to be in the vanguard.