On Sony's ESP/psi research lab (1990-1998)

Breaking off into a thread of its own from discussion started here.

Here are a couple of links to old news articles on Sony’s research:

ESPER Laboratory

They didn’t say the real reason the research was shut down, being the death of the founder and main supporter. Instead they said, “the ESP phenomena was proved to exist but that they didn’t find a way to use it commercially, so the research was closed.”

Here is an extensive bibliography of Sony’s ESPER lab publications if you want to investigate further, but much of it is in Japanese. It’s possible some of the work may have been translated by now.

The head of the laboratory is Yoichiro Sako. The Laboratory’s name means “Extra Sensory Perception & Excitation Research”. This Laboratory, part of SONY Corporation, was established in Tokyo in 1991 to study life phenomena, mental phenomena and anomalous phenomena. The final purpose of the laboratory as noted in the founding prospectus is to explore the mind/consciousness and spirit. 295) Before the ESPER Laboratory, there was a temporary laboratory called the “Human Science Research Institute” which existed for 6 months in 1990. There is a short report written in Spanish 296) about ESPER Laboratory.

Early work was on psi-conducive training with Japanese children. Researchers found that it was easy to develop psychic abilities by psi-conducive training. Some of these experiments were done on TV programs broadcasted by TBS. Psychic abilities of children were developed remarkably: for example, children could read letters without using their eyes; 281) and an anomalous connection of two paper clips was recorded by a video camera. 297)

Major results were published in Journal of Mind-Body Science 239-245) and Journal of International Society of Life Information Science 279-282) and a book. Workers presented their results at ISLIS, SMBS and the symposium on the Bi-Digital O-Ring Test.

(* Closed on March 31, 1998)

239 Ono T, Sako Y, Ozeki M and Naoi T: The Possibility of the Existence of Extraordinary Bio-Perception of Color, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 5(1), 67-74, 1996 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

240 Sakakibara T and Sako Y: The Influence of the Shield Condition on the Extraordinary Bio-Perception of Color, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 6(1), 27-33, 1997 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

241 Sako Y, Sato T, Sasaki S, Kobayashi T and Sakai Y: Physiological Changes of Qi-Sender and Qi-Receivers During Qigong Operation, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 3(1), 33-50,1994 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

242 Sako Y, Ozeki M, Naoi T and Ono T: The Possibility of Extraordinary Bio-Perception, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 4(1), 1-9, 1995 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

243 Sako Y and Homma S: The Possibility of the Existence of Clairvoyance, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 5(1), 57-65, 1996 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

244 Sako Y and Homma S: Investigation of Clairvoyance, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 6(1), 75-82, 1997 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

245 Sasaki S, Sako Y and Kobayashi T: Characteristics of Qi Observed in the Changes of Qi-water Conductivity, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 2(1), 1-7, 1993 [in Japanese with an English abstract]

279 Sako Y and Ono T: The Existence of Extraordinary Bio-perception of Color, J. Intl. Soc. Life Info. Sci., 14(2), 196-197, 1996

280 Sako Y and Ono T: Non-visual Color Recognition, J. Intl. Soc. Life Info. Sci., 15(1), 36-49, 1997

281 Sako Y and Homma S: Clairvoyance and Synesthesia, J. Intl. Soc. Life Info. Sci., 15(1), 169-172, 1997

282 Sako Y and Sakakibara T: The Influence of the Visible Light Condition of Target Samples and the Subject’s Awareness of This Condition in Non-visual Color Recognition, J. Intl. Soc. Life Info. Sci., 15(2), 446-449, 1997

295 Sako Y: Founding Prospectus, pp.36-37, in Sako Y, “SONY ‘Michi Jouhou’ heno
Chosen (Sony’s Challenge for Unknown Information)”, Tokyo, Tokuma-Shoten, 1996 [in Japanese]

296 Sako Y: La Filosofia Fundamental del Laboratorio ESPER de la Corporacion SONY, Revista Argentina de Psicologia Paranormal, 8(3), 225-227, 1997 [in Spanish]

297 pp.135-138 in 91) [in Japanese]


Doing a bit of quick research on the lab’s director, Yoichiro Sako;

Japanese name: 佐古(Sakou) 曜一郎 (Youichirou)

There’s 2 books on Amazon by him:

ソニー 「未知情報」への挑戦―科学のニューフロンティアを求めて
Sony’s Challenge towards “Unknown Information” - In Search of a New Frontier in Science

The Dream that Masaru Ibuka had - The “ruler” (in English: standard/yardstick/measure/viewpoint) of the 21st century will change like this!
(Masaru Ibuka is one of the Sony founders)

It doesn’t look like they’ve been translated into English. Even on Japanese Amazon they only have 2-3 reviews. Overall he doesn’t seem to have gotten much exposure at all in Japanese literature/media.

239 Ono T, Sako Y, Ozeki M and Naoi T: The Possibility of the Existence of Extraordinary Bio-Perception of Color, Journal of Mind-Body Science, 5(1), 67-74, 1996 [in Japanese with an English abstract]



@ScottWilber what do you think about Interchange Labs? Looks like they have some working MMI technology.

They have been working on MMI technology for many years and their current level of tech has potential. Their gas discharge entropy source seems to have some interesting properties.

I have recently been collaborating with them to test some ideas using an MED100Kx8 (1.024Gbps) MMI generator.

Like everyone in the field, they are up against a dismissive scientific community and disbelieving general public. As I noted in another thread, only a startling breakthrough will grab people’s attention. That will be making applications that are relatively easy to use for most people that provide reliable results most of the time. I believe these goals can only be accomplished by many interested and motivated individuals and companies working together.

Have you been working with gas discharge entropy?

Curious, I wonder how does that work. Single ionization event is about 5-15 eV Ionization energy - Wikipedia while the Landauer limit is approximately 0.0175 eV, seems like a lot of work required to influence it, from the first glance

I am familiar with the underlying principles and investigated gas discharge as an entropy source years ago. However, it is difficult and expensive to use. Instead I pursued more easily mass-producible and less expensive approaches.

I should emphasize the difference between the energy it takes to prepare a measurement and the energy difference during a measurement needed to shift the output to an intended state. A single photon of red wavelength has energy about 2eV. However, if it is sent through a polarization beam splitter (PBS), it takes zero or almost zero energy difference for that photon to exit the PBS at one of two ports that will be detected as a 1 or a 0.

The Landauer limit is not an actual limit in true random number generation because a preexisting bit state does not need to be erased to produce a random output bit. It is the erasure in the process of changing a bit that takes most of the energy.

These considerations are important when designing a more responsive MMI generator. If the entropy source is continuous (producing an ongoing analog output), the amount of energy needed to “switch” the output to the opposite state is significant and is readily calculable. Only discrete or dis-continuous entropy signals may require much less energy to get the intended output. The “energy to switch” consideration is only meaningful if bits are actually being altered by mental influence. There are other quantum-like explanations for MMI that don’t include direct effects on the entropy source. These usually involve quantum properties such as entanglement and wavefunction collapse.

On their website, they write that their demo stand is capable of recognizing code directives for safely flipping a switch. What method do they use to extract the psi signal from the noise so precisely and unambiguously?

I can’t give a definitive answer because I have not tried it myself. There are a few questions I would have, such as, do they do their tests with a continuous, free-running system, or is it done by a series of initiated trials? How long does it take to get a “switch” to occur? What is the ratio of incorrect versus correct results? If the system is free-running, how often do they get a spontaneous, incorrect switching event?

In real-world applications, only the continuous – hands-free – system would be useful. Continuous systems (generally without user feedback) are much harder to get good results with. Marketing statements on any tech website should always be taken with a grain of salt. They are usually exaggerated on their performance claims, but as I said, I have no direct experience one way or the other.

They do not use their entropy source to create a continuous noise signal to sample random bits. Instead they sample parameters that they interpret as “entrainment,” what I would call entanglement, within a measurement. They are using discrete measurements, which I believe is one of the necessary properties of an MMI sensor to produce good results. There is probably more information on their website or in their patent(s).

The video on their side is very market-y and lacking substance of any worthwhile note (but lots of pretty stock images), but hopefully the patent might yield more insight:

Maybe you could contact them and invite to this forum?

I think the first thing we should do is to ask them to share some remote access API for the hardware to see how responsive it is.

RobertPlotke “Bob” (already a member) is a co-founder of Interchange.