YKK Forum

The Tongue Cord

I was re-reading the series (out of boredom, 2 months at a relative house while going to school because lack of funds and won’t be in a house with a net connection till like Jan 16. Thank the mother goddess for my 250gig anime archive drive with fans subs and my stuff burned to data DVDs. Still slowing going insane one day at a time. But that a story for a another time :P) and notice something.

Don’t know if this has been discussed before but decide to bring it up. So far we’ve really only seen robots use the tongue cord for control and interacting with stuff. We’ve had threads before we talked about how message are exchanged and if people we haven’t actual seen interact yet have, such as Owner and Kokone with owners message to Alpha. While Re-read I saw something I just didn’t see before, Sensei using Tongue cord while flying the original “Misago”


The whole experiment was said to be to record how she reacted yet I think the tongue cord wasn’t for that. You can see she’s wired up for record that stuff.

I got a feeling humans can use the cords as well. Though to what extent, who knows. But likely since Kokone didn’t know what was in owners message, so she didn’t memorize a written letter I’m think humans can use it at the very least to mental right stuff to a computer system. She probably picked it up the message form a large network or central computer when she got the package to deliver.

- Miah
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Yes. Interesting note indeed. Thought there are no exact mentioning that cord is for connecting humans as well, the fact is signigicant. The way Sensei was connected during that flight makes me to think about actual level of technology required. Seems that YKK world is way more advanced in some ways that we can assume frome how it looks.
Maybe nanorobotics? As in William Keith's "Warstrider" nanotechnologically grown in human's brain neurolink structure? Or something like it?

*tryed to type it by puttin' USB cable into my mouth - no success* =)

- Drake
Tuesday, November 16, 2004


>*tryed to type it by puttin' USB cable into my mouth - no success*

You need Firewire, at the very least ;-)



- dDave
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ha ha funny Dave real funny. Seriously though who's to say on humans in that world the mouth cord isn't some sort of way to monitor oxygen levels, pulse, and heart rate. It appears to me, at least, in the picture provided that Sensei is wired for an EEG. The wires all appear to be going to her brain under her helmet. Maybe it was a part of the research she was involved with back then. I have a feeling in order to study how the brain works they had her hooked up to EEG wires to study brain patterns during her trip in the Misago.

Then again the mouth cords remind me of the tubes one would find attached to the water pouch of a Camelback. It looks a little smaller in the mouth piece than the Camelback but it's a similar shape. Maybe the cord Sensei has in her mouth is nothing more than a way to get water during the trip.


- Christine K
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

There are wheelchairs that operate with kind of a straw...like...thing. Yep.

- Hekima
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Of course, we don't know that Sensei ISN'T a robot person, do we?

Just because she was around Ojisan ages ago didn't specifically tell us she was actually human. Maybe she used the mouth cord (don't we have a more elegant phrase for it?) because it was designed for HER.

- seaweb
Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Interesting thought, but I believe sensei is human. If she is a robot, she pre-dates the A7 series since she helped a little with the A7 prototypes. However, she has claimed not not to know anything about the preceeding models. Also, we see her age.

I think the cord is evidence that humans can interface to machines using that technology.



- dDave
Thursday, November 18, 2004

No clue as to how similar robot and human brains are. It might be a protype for the robot project that didn't catch on for human use. And Alpha's receptor seems to be better than Nai's, from the plane flight they took., so there is not just one standard model.

- Kerry
Thursday, November 18, 2004

As I was reading every one response I thought of something, it could also be that people just don't like using it.

For a robot, be they Bio-engineer humans (I remember a book I read that had Bio-engineered humans as robots/androids. Like humans in all aspect except they couldn't reproduce like us), Bio-androids, or machines design to be like humans, using a device and connecting to it like Alpha does with her camera and seeing what it see would seem normal even if the first experience was weird like it was for Alpha. Kokone thought nothing of doing a direct transfer of owner message but alpha was little bothered at first. Alpha comments later on how she brings her camera everywhere. It's become second nature to her to use it like a third eye and carry it every where with her.


But for a human that would seem weird and alien. With the personalities we've seen far in the series I'm think they just refuse to use it even if it's out there. It feels to me like no so much as they no longer have advance technology so much as almost seem like they abandoned it. Or if they did lose it they feel no need to gain it again.

- Miah
Thursday, November 18, 2004

Yeah, Sensei alludes to her mortality. Human.

However, as I suspect she had a significant role in the development of the advanced robotics systems, it's possible she has found it convenient to upgrade herself with a few simple robotic interfaces. Maybe she had a connector surgically implanted?

We see the cord works between robot brains, and connects to the camera and the hydrofoil (interesting that the connection to the hydrofoil requires the cable to have that physical connection to Alpha, but not to the hyrofoil). It may work with additional peripherals we haven't seen yet.

Can Sensei use Alpha's or Nai's cameras, I wonder?

- seaweb
Thursday, November 18, 2004

Y'know, I just HAVE to go back and read this through again.

From "Chapter 28: Connections": Sensei worked in medical research, and the purpose of her hydrofoil, she said, was to get data on "the humans sensation of striving for a goal under the most extreme circumstances; the feel of passing one's limits." Her goal was to develop a substitute for free will for the subsequent robot persons. So, she was in robotics from the beginning.

She is the pilot of the hydrofoil, and a tongue cord was part of the wiring she wore for the monitors.

There's no suggestion that she's been modified herself. The cord, for her, must work on skin galvinitzation or maybe it measures hormones.

On her later ships, as Alpha noted, there was no cabin for an on-board pilot. Perhaps, as the robot program progressed, Sensei may have been using these hydrofoils as the early link to physicality for the robot minds. The robot brains may have been the focus of her research and no "bodies" were yet produced.

One more tangental note: Sensei mentions (again, in "Connections") that her test in the hydrofoil run ocurred "after the first great tide had receded. and the rebuilding of the towns and ports had begun."

So, there were multiple "great tides?" That doesn't seem to suggest a triggering event, like a Mount Fuji eruption. And the "first great tide" makes me think the people were caught off-guard again, after they started to recover from the first tide.

- seaweb
Thursday, November 18, 2004

I've been thinking a lot about the tongue cord.

I wonder if it tastes yummy.

- Brad
Thursday, November 18, 2004

A friend pointed out
which is intriguingly similar, although the "sensory substitution" described is a little more indirect.

- Smarasderagd
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sorry to resurrect this old topic. The cord is (on these "ships") a control mechanism.


Sensi implies there's a one-way feed of signals from the tongue to the ship (in other words, it's used to control the ship), and is surprised when Alpha gets data coming the other way. So it's natural that Sensei used one too.

If you think about it, the human body only has so many appendages you can use to control things. You have the hands, feet, and fingers (and maybe toes). The tongue is an obvious alternative. People have good control over it (it lets us talk), and it has a high muscle to mass ratio so it won't get tossed side to side due to acceleration.

The concept of an emergent behavior* developing with the interaction of two machines also matches with the theme of the entire manga. Alpha goes through "life", and through her interaction with others discovers new things about the world and herself, and in the process helps others discover new things about themselves.

*In robotics, an emergent behavior is one which wasn't directly programmed in, but arises with the interaction of other pre-programmed behaviors. A robot can be programmed to keep moving, and to approach walls but keep a small distance from them. This will result in the emergent behavior of the robot following the wall, and being able to "solve" a certain class of maze.. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

- John
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

An interesting thing that has been emerging in sense research is that just about any set of nerves can be adapted to sight - provided the sensors can follow head movements.

For example, in one experiment <i>a set of electrodes were placed on the tounge</i> and connected to a pair of helmet-mounted cameras. After a couple of hours, the subject could see well enough to navigate - and reported 'seeing' objects.

In a similar experiment, another researcher, now marketing his work, uses a similar system connected to helmet-mounted gyros to provide a sense of balance to the subject. The interesting thing with this one is that the sensation persists after the electrodes are removed from the tounge, for up to 8 hours. This is being used as a portable treatment for people with inner-ear and other balance disorders!


- Rob Masters
Friday, February 11, 2005

I want to try the tongue to camera experiment.

I wonder how simple this set-up might be?

Do you have a link?

- seaweb
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The latest Scientific American has a bit about it.

Also: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1220632.stm

and the balance treatment: http://www.jsonline.com/alive/news/dec04/282145.asp


- Rob Masters
Thursday, February 17, 2005

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