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A neural interface is a device which interfaces with a user's mind. This can be for a variety of reasons including control of technology, control of a mind, or transfer of knowledge in or out of the user.
Neural interfaces by cultureEdit
Ancient neural technology is far beyond that of any other known species, with the ability to simply sit down in a control chair and automatically have one's thoughts transferred to the computers with no physical penetration. The chair technology is two-way, allowing for some basic information to be displayed to the user, although the chair also uses holograms for extra displays. This is employed for controlling drone weapons and flying ships. It also allows for system configuration.
Some Ancient ships, such as Destiny, possess ship-wide neural interfaces which allow them to read and manipulate the minds of the crew. As well as to facilitate an understanding of the crew, the technology enables the ship to put the crew's minds into virtual reality simulations, rendering them unconscious. All this is wireless and appears to operate everywhere on the vessel.
A later version of the interface comes in the form of the Ancient wall viewers, which allow the user to fully interact with the machine using two small hand rests that allow mind interface. They can be used to download information into the brain, advance brain chemistry to near ascension, transfer knowledge/memories/consciousness, and create things in virtual reality. Examples include the repository of knowledge and Merlin's Molecular construction device, with which he built the Sangraal and gave Dr. Daniel Jackson near-ascended abilities.
An early version of the chair-based neural interface is seen on the Destiny. This version seems to be a combination of the functions of a Repository and a Control chair, but an older version of both, as it restrains its subjects during operation, due to a chance of a seizure during use. Dr. Nicholas Rush speculates that the knowledge is not as intense as the newer repositories (and therefore possibly not fatal), but the dangers of the transfer procedure are still much greater than in the newer version, making it equally as perilous for an unevolved human to use. This device can also cause lucid dreams based on past memories, suggesting that the device's capabilities—and perhaps those of all Ancient neural interface devices—can be expanded to include far more than just transfer of information, when programmed in the correct way.
Many other Ancient devices are mentally controlled, such as the personal shield emitter, and this technology was capable of reading the user's mind even through a T-shirt. Some newer technology can read from and write to the user's mind over vast distances, such as the long-range communication stones, which can manipulate and transfer consciousnesses even when many light years from the user.
Asgard technology allowed for any consciousness to be fully downloaded into computer memory and back into another body. It could also link a mind with the ship's computer. It was capable of preserving "vastly superior" Asgard minds (compared to common humans). The Asgard computers could process an Asgard mind even when their body was lost, as seen when Thor is presumed to fully control his ship—The Daniel Jackson—after his body was lost fighting Replicators, but his mind was transferred to the ship. (SG1: "Reckoning, Part 2")
Interfacing with an Asgard ship computer seems to be completely harmless to Colonel Jack O'Neill, which suggests that it can be programmed to limit information transfer rates. Despite this, Asgard technology does not appear to be able to interface simply through skin contact on the hand or chest, instead requiring the user to be in a specialized machine. It has never been seen to interface over any distance, unlike Ancient technologies which can maintain a link even when light years away from the user. (SG1: "New Order, Part 2")
The Eurondans used neural interfaces to control their fighters, being able to control multiple craft at the same time. However, prolonged use of the neural interfaces resulted in brain damage. (SG1: "The Other Side")
A great deal of the technology used by the Goa'uld can only be activated with their minds, such as the kara kesh and the hara'kesh. To activate it, the user must have Naquadah in their bloodstream. Thus, only hosts and former hosts are able to activate Goa'uld technology. However, most former hosts lack the proper mental training to achieve this, a notable exception being Vala Mal Doran. (It is possible the technology was originally of ancient design as it seems similar, and the Goa'uld modified it to use Naquadah and not the Ancient Technology Activation gene.) (Stargate) (SG1: "Children of the Gods", "Thor's Chariot", "Fair Game", "Prometheus Unbound")
The warships of the Ori are keyed to Priors, who control the vessel from a small bridge; the ship's systems cannot be initialized any other way. However, Adria was able to activate the systems from a different room, and Dr. Daniel Jackson was able to give Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter enough information on Ori technology to activate the flight systems. The primary weapon on the warships is activated mentally, and does not need the Prior controlling the vessel to sit in the control chair, but they must be nearby. (SG1: "Counterstrike", "The Shroud")
Wraith Hive ships must be piloted by a Wraith neural interface, similar to the Ancient Technology Activation gene. Those who have Wraith DNA in their systems are capable of piloting the vessel, but it is taxing on the person. The Wraith are also capable of mentally activating some of their technology, such as the cell doors on the Hive ships. (SGA: "Rising", "The Hive", "Misbegotten")