Lab Didita Brings Psychic Physics to Life
When I first picked up Ayanda Lesedi’s “Psychic Physics” at the Timbuktu bookstore on New Harlem Avenue, I couldn’t put it down. During my weekends, I would curl up on my messy bed with “Psychic Physics,” disregarding the pile of clothes scattered across my floor. As I read through the pages of Ms. Lesedi’s best-seller, I wondered when not if telepathy, time travel, and teleportation would become an irrefutable, scientific reality. When I finally arrived at the last page of the large paperback book, I silently pledged to myself that chasing after scientific breakthroughs in telepathy, time travel, teleportation, and “scientific impossible possibles” would become my life’s purpose.
This pledge led me to Lab Didita (LDD).
I first heard of Lab Didita at a convening for women and non-binary researchers in the STEM field. Ninety-nine percent of these researchers had experienced a near-death encounter. I went to the convening with other students of Audre Lorde University. We were writing a research paper on near-death encounters and dreams. “Psychic Physics” had inspired our research paper.
Lab Didita’s information booth sat comfortably and inconspicuously on the left side of the lavender reception room. Amid the loud chatter, I strode over to the LDD booth, trying to make eye contact with the lady who seemed not too keen on small talk. Her amber eyes were glued to the paperwork wrapped firmly in her palms. And her full, licorice, lips were curled in a frown. The person who said to never judge a book by its cover proved correct when I began speaking with the LDD lady at the table—Professor Afrembé Winfrey. Professor Afrembé was not only cordial and sociable, but she was also just as open to small talk as I was. It turned out that we were both fans of “Psychic Physics” by Ayanda Lesedi. We were also southern Afro-Americans who had migrated to the Midwest. We immediately bonded and two weeks later she was giving me a tour of the LDD facility.
“And here is where the magic happens,” Professor Afremmbé said, changing her tone when she pronounced magic to let me know she didn’t believe any magic happened here at all. We both chuckled, and I marveled at how her gap-teeth fit perfectly on her oval-shaped face. We were in a spacious room with silver chairs and circular tables lining the silver walls. On the tables were jet-black headphones, virtual reality glasses, and electronic hats.
“What exactly happens here?” I whispered. “Here is where we translate thoughts,” she whispered back, smiling in amusement. Then she motioned for me to sit on the silver chair while she fidgeted with a complex machine by the black screen. The bronze ring on her middle finger glowed under the fluorescent lamp.
“Here you can re-create the sounds, images, and words in your brain on the screen.” I oohed and aahed because I wasn’t sure that “wow” accurately portrayed my level of awe.
Once Professor Afremmbé finished fidgeting with the circular machine, she strapped the heavy electric helmet to my square-shaped head. A flash of lightning interrupted us, followed by thunder. My heart started racing. I wondered if lightning would strike me and if I would experience a near-death encounter. When I looked up on the screen, I gasped—my thoughts were staring back at me in the italicized Futura font.
“I w-was unaware we h-had started the p-process,” I stuttered, my cheeks becoming red. Professor Afremmbé giggled. “No need to be ashamed of your fears, I have fears too. All beings do.” I nodded then steered my thoughts away from the thunder to the solar-powered high-speed train I rode everywhere.
Conservative critics had called the train fiscally irresponsible. “Winston will lose jobs and the high-speed rail cannot generate sufficient revenue to sustain itself,” District 12 councilperson Sydukwenu Mojedina had said during city council budget hearings. “It will take years to become a reality, isn’t it better we fund a more time-sensible project?” Fortunately, the majority were with solar-powered, high-speed rail.
On the screen, I saw a picture of a train that resembled a child’s drawing. “This is amazing,” I said out loud and Professor Afremmbé nodded, giving me a thumbs up. She looked pleased. “Try to create a song in your mind,” she said. “I’m not the best musician, but I will try,” I laughed.
I began humming a tune out loud prompting my brain to hum along with me, then suddenly the musical notes of the tune appeared on the screen. Professor Afremmbé played the digital version of the tune to me and I marveled at the wonders of science and the universe.
The rest of the tour took around forty minutes and in that time I learned that LDD was at the beginning levels of dream translation and intermediate levels of creating artificially intelligent authors. “Our computers can write a two hundred page thriller in ten hours.”
Additionally, LDD was working on solar-powered headphones that bypassed the ears to deliver sound directly to the brain from a device attached to the head. The technology I learned about during my tour was revolutionary. “We hope to expand into the biotechnology and biomedical engineering fields,” Professor Afrembé said to me as we exited the LDD building.
“If this is what Lab Didita can accomplish in the neurotechnology field,” I said “I’m confident you will have many extraordinary achievements in the biotechnology and biomedical engineering fields.”