The Stimoceiver Chip, A Fascinating Experiment

September 6, 2019
A worldwide debate ensued right after Dr. José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado conducted his experiments with the stimoceiver chip because it opened the door to an evil idea: that it's possible to control the human brain using technology.

The stimoceiver chip experiments are some of the most controversial neuroscientific experiments of all time. They’re, however, also quite fascinating. To conduct them, Spanish scientist José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado implanted a device of his own invention in the brain of an animal to control its behavior.

In simple terms, this device allows a person to direct the behavior of biological organisms at a distance. It’s like a remote control that, when activated, causes electrical stimuli in certain areas of the brain. It makes an animal or a human act in very specific ways.

José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado was strongly criticized for his invention, although his goal was to advance the understanding of our brain and open a path to rehabilitating some of its functions. He speculated that what he was really after was an apparatus to be able to manipulate someone’s mind and direct or condition behavior.

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading isn’t what’s happening.”

-Donald J. Trump-

The stimoceiver chip experiment

After creating the stimoceiver, Dr. Rodríguez Delgado conducted an experiment that got him worldwide recognition. It took place on May 1965, in Córdoba, Spain. Rodriguez chose a bullring as the location where he would proceed to test his new device.

The bullring was small and there were only a dozen witnesses at most. He had selected a bull named Lucero for his experiment with the stimoceiver chip. Witnesses claim that several bullfighters began to rile up the bull by whipping their cape in front of it, while the scientist waited behind a security barrier.

Then, the doctor came out, quite well dressed in a shirt and tie with only a remote control in his hands. He slowly approached Lucero and, upon noticing him, the bull furiously charged against him.

When the bull was close enough to him, the scientist activated his remote control. It sent an electric shock directly to Lucero’s brain and he immediately halted. Of course, the following May 23, Dr. José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado was in the cover of the New York Times. Everyone knew now that there’s a way to control someone else‘s brain.

The stimoceiver chip inventor

Dr. José Manuel Rodríguez was a scholarship holder at Yale University since 1946. In 1950, in response to an invitation by scientist John Fulton, he joined the physiology department of that University. A decade later, he was already testing his new stimoceiver chip.

He conducted his first experiments on cats and then on monkeys. Witnesses say that Rodriguez would turn them into mindless creatures who did everything he asked. It was afterward when the public display in the Córdoba bullring took place. It was at that very moment that the world could appreciate his incredible breakthrough.

Delgado pointed out that it was possible to produce targeted radio stimulation in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus. To do so, he implanted a small radio transmitter in a brain that could be then manipulated with a remote control. It’s all rather simple and yet so complex.

Testing animals and humans

The first time that Dr. Rodríguez Delgado talked about the possibility of remotely controlling someone else’s behavior was at the end of the 40s. Later, he had the opportunity to go to Hall Island, Bermuda.

There, he managed to insert small stimoceiver chips into the brain of a whole group of gibbon monkeys. A short time later, he managed to control the behavior of these animals, to the point that several of them even rebelled against the alpha males. This is something that would never happen in nature.

Then, he began to experiment with human beings in 1952. His subjects were mental patients from the Rhode Island Hospital in Massachusetts. As justification, he said he only experimented on patients science could no longer do anything for.

The controversial experience

A wire-like brain.

Most of the results of the experiments carried out with the stimoceiver chip were recorded in the book Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society, published by Dr. Rodríguez Delgado in 1969. In it, he mentions 25 implants done in humans, most of them in people afflicted with schizophrenia and epilepsy.

He pointed out that radio transmitters could remain in the brain for as long as someone lived and that he was able to generate multiple states and emotions, such as joy, deep concentration, and extreme relaxation.

Afterward, he was accused of being part of a CIA’s agenda to control the human mind. However, nobody knows if the claims were true or not. But what we do know is that the stimoceiver chip served as a precursor to other devices that are currently in the testing process.

Thus, they might be able to improve conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

  • Diéguez, A. (2017). Transhumanismo: la búsqueda tecnológica del mejoramiento humano. Herder Editorial.