• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Historical sidebar The Experiential Typewriter

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago


DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is presented on an "as is" basis, and does not claim to present definitive information, make recommendation or to represent any official body or organization. Users of this site agree that the owner of the site or authors of pages and articles are indemnified against legal liability


The Experiential Typewriter (1965)


"The communicating device known as the Experiential Typewriter was designed by Dr. Ogden Lindsey of the Harvard Medical School and William Getzinger, electronic engineer with MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in 1965.


The instrument is a direct remediation and synthesis of preexistent machinery. An internally modified Esterline Angus Operational Recorder is rigged with up to twenty pens (one for each key) and attached to a power console. This console also has two ten-key pads connected to it by long wires; when a key is depressed, a single mark is made upon the polygraph paper. The recording had to be set up so that a separate finger- movement had to be made to register an experience. It was anticipated that during high points of sessions subjects would lose contact with the instruments and might hold down a key for long periods. To avoid this eventuality, each time a key is depressed a mark is made on the polygraph, but if the key is held down no further impression is recorded until the key is released.


Certain requirements had to be met: the device should allow for touch tying of messages by subjects lying or sitting in darkened rooms. The keyboards had to be separate and the keys had to be engineered to fit the structure of the hand and fingers.


Mr. Getzinger's description of the four major parts of the typewriter is as follows:


1. Twenty-pen Recorder

a. The registration of reactions is accomplished by an Esterline-Angus Operation Recorder with internal wiring modified so that operation with pulsed D.C. is possible.


2. The Console

d. The phone recept connects with a similar recept on the left-hand keyboard to allow spoken communication between keyboard location and console location.

e. The round button on the sloping panel energizes a lamp in a similar button on the left-hand keyboard, and vice versa, thus allowing simple visual signaling between keyboard and console.


3. Connecting Cables


4. The Keyboards

1 2 3 4 11 12 13 14

5 6 7 8 15 16 17 18

9 10 19 20


*The Keyboard of the Experiential Typewriter*


The usefulness of the Experiential Typewriter depends on

the meaningfulness of the experiential language to be




p. 205, Psychotechnology; Electronic Control of Mind and Behavior By Robert L. Schwitzgebel, Ralph K. Schwitzgebel

(1973) Holt, Rinehart and Winston.


Timothy Leary. The Experiential Typewriter. Psychedelic Review #7, pp 70-85. University Books, New Hyde Park, NY, 1966.


Sources: Timothy Leary. HIGH PRIEST. College Notes and

Texts, Inc., New American Library, NYC, 1968. Library of

Congress 68-9031.


Experiential Typewriter Dead Media Archive, NYU Dept. of Media, Culture and communication. Access April 21, 2008.






Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.