A Sony researcher got the bright idea in 2000 or so that sound waves could someday be used to stimulate thoughts, perhaps for use in simulations, to evoke sounds, smells, and so on. So he patented the idea, lest someone steal his ‘invention’ before he got around to actually inventing it.
No experiments were done, according to Sony. No prototype was built. No work product exists to be protected. There is only pure speculation, and of course, a patent application, which for some reason was granted by our wonderful USPTO.
The only saving grace is that it may be 2020 before anyone actually builds this kind of thing, by which time this patent will have expired. However, though I am not a lawyer, I’m pretty sure that if anyone does actually invent such a technology on their own, they have nothing to worry about — except perhaps an expensive bogus lawsuit from Sony, which Sony would ultimately lose. The patent is so clearly fraudulent that even Sony doesn’t even pretend they have anything worthwhile.
There simply is no such thing as a "speculative" or "blue sky" patent. One of the basic tenets of patent law is that a thing has to actually exist to be patentable. I mean, following Sony’s model, what’s to stop me from reading (or writing) science fiction and patenting my "VR contact lenses," or "flying cars," "subspace communications," or my fancy new method of space travel, if all I have to do is describe the thing at the high level, but not tell (or even know) how it might actually work?
Can you imagine how much worse IP law would be if all you had to do to patent something was play buzzword bingo and guess the next big breakthrough terms?