Head transplantation is here! Or is it?

Scrolling on LinkedIn recently, I came across something unbelievable.

It was a new medtech startup’s video feature demonstrating the new technology they’re developing. In this case, that new technology was a protocol for head transplantation.

Have you seen this video? From the startup BrainBridge?

Before you reply chastising me for spreading misinformation, let me assure you: I know the video is fake. Or, rather, that BrainBridge and their plans for human head transplants are purely fictional.

But according to the video’s creator, Yemeni film director Hashem Al-Ghaili (who is also behind the fictional artificial womb startup, EctoLife), many viewers were fooled by BrainBridge. And they reacted accordingly—from outrage to offers of investment.

Now, the question I’ve been wondering about: Is this video merely entertaining medical misinformation, or is it something more? Might it perhaps, per Al-Ghaili’s assertion, be somewhat of a ‘temperature check’ on public opinion?

Of course, a video like this is not what traditional market testing or opinion polling looks like. These kinds of polls show us that the public is generally behind new medical technologies.

Chart: MedTech Pulse
Chart: MedTech Pulse

It takes something more provocative—like a somewhat disturbing video showing a human’s head being removed and then transplanted to a new body—to draw out our emotions. 

That’s what makes science fiction so thrilling. It hits upon our deepest anxieties and draws out ideas we couldn’t dream up ourselves for how society might be improved—or destroyed. On the optimistic side, it allows us to stretch our imaginations as to what innovations might be possible.

I believe science fiction is an important part of a creative medical innovator’s media diet

Yes, it may be an unconventional—and non-standardizable—way to gauge public opinion. But if you think about it, science fiction has been inspiring inventors and skeptics even long before the days of George Orwell

Interested in injecting some science fiction inspiration into your own thinking about technology? Don’t worry, I won’t assign you a reading list. 

However, I would recommend checking out two online resources:

  1. The Not Boring Sci-Fi Idea Bank for Startups
  2. The Technovelgy Database

Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next startup idea hidden in an obscure sci-fi novel. Or that your current venture was already dreamed up in the 18th century.

Hadi Saleh

Hadi’s Reflections

Dr. Hadi Saleh is CEO of CeramTec, a leading provider of advanced ceramics for medical applications. He is driven by the idea of embracing technology for the benefit of human life.


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