Funny that you guys mention that, I suggested it a long time ago on a Facebook post when a friend of mine suggested pressurebending.
Here was the convo:
Me: "Through lightningbending, it may be capable of bending someone to your will by redirecting the synapses in the victim's brain to their whim. It would require a vast knowledge of how the human brain works combined with lightningbending so refined that the user in question could do it on the microscale however.
It could be through this ability, if it is even plausible, that the villain manipulates the Avatar into doing this."
Friend: " nope. Not even an avatar could bend the earth's core.
Bro, even today we don't have that kind of knowledge. Manipulation of lightning on the microscale is also impossible. Read the description of lightning generation on the avatar wiki. A firebender does not manipulate lightning. A firebender does not control lightning. They merely create charge separation and direct the flow of lightning created upon the neutralization of the charge differences.
And, once again: if any bender could bend the microscopic flow of electrons in the body such that they could redirect synaptic signals, than that never could bend goddamn anything. Control over electrons, an elementary particle, equals control over all chemical reactions."
Me: "Let's get rid of all the bending concepts for a second and focus on the very idea of controlling the synapses in others' brains via a device that manipulates electric charge in general.
It is(or at least in the various sci-fi discussion threads I've lurked) well-established that the idea of controlling someone with the method I described is pure sci-fi as of now. However, our technology has shown signs of having synapse control be a possibility somewhere in the future, as that seems to be the case in most ideas deemed impossible by the scientific community.
What I have in mind would simply be a reverse-engineering of this:
The robot would be controlling the human instead of the other way around.
SO, to apply this to lightningbending synapses: As with plasmabending, it would ONLY be possible if the lightningbender had a device to control all that raw power he/she generates and give it the precision necessary to bend the synapses on the microscale. I imagine an extraordinarily complex and sophisticated machine of some sort, perhaps something like Cerebro from X-men, would be needed for this to succeed. It would work as something you place on your victim's head when you restrain them to a chair. IMO, this is something a little more advanced than those mini fusion reactor gloves. :3
Perhaps in the next air cycle.
After attending a 7 hour long cosmology workshop at Berkeley today with Ching, Kobe, Rax from our school and a couple Lowellites as well as people from all over the Bay Area, I learned something about sound that would actually be supported by your OP, Eric.
The last guest speaker of the day for the many lectures we have happened to be a waves specialist. We went through the basic high school wave formulas first, then went on to adding waves and how they would sound like. Sound is defined as pressure variations of the air throughout time. I asked the speaker how modern day sound systems work, and she said that the coils/magnets in the sound system(i.e. speakers, headphones, earbuds, etc.) push the air in order to change the pressure, which produces a sound."
Friend: "Mang, if you're going to throw technology into this at all, you might as well throw out bending. If you had a device that can control electronic charges, why would you need lightning generation to operate it? That's like expecting a man with a giant axe to perform heart surgery after attaching a scalpel to his axe blade. Anyone with the scalpel can do the surgery; you don't need the axe man to do it. The axe man, if he put down his axe, would find the task much simpler. In the same way, lightning generation has nothing to do with manipulating synaptic charge on the microscale."
Me: "I am throwing in technology in here because my context of technology in the bending sense would simply be an extension of themselves to better connect with their element and control it so that they won't be outdone by technology. To me, technology in the world of Avatar is simply a way to amplify bending's abilities, like the fire cannons in General Iroh's battleships, or Aang's staff that functioned as a hang glide for him to fly through the air. Would gliding through conventional means, or firing cannons with gunpowder/modern explosive projectiles that Amon's Equalists used during the defensive maneuver against Iroh's fleet devalue bending as a practical usage?
To address why lightningbending would be needed:
I imagine the lightningbender would be able to learn how to control which synapses go where long before the non-benders figure out how to do it with the tedious process of using machines. Again, back to the fire cannon example as to why benders will not be outdone. I will further elaborate later on the practicality of incorporating technology with bending. It seems I wasn't clear on what the device would do. >.<
This Cerebro-type device would merely HELP the lightningbender guide his bending towards the right synapses. If non-benders were to attempt this, they would need to account for so many things the lightningbender can solve merely by relying on his precision under the guidance of this device. If non-benders were to do this, they would need to account for electrode implants, drilling holes into the skull if that is necessary for some intense brainwork, specific materials just so that the electrical pulses they send into the brain will actually correctly interfere with the neural activity, and a lot of surgery near the head. Lightningbenders would be able to overcome ALL of these obstacles by being able to influence synapse paths without having to do any of the above.
Of course, everything I just said is theoretical. Since Avatar is a fictional universe, I suppose a BSed Cerebro device could be created to fit the ramifications for such an invention, as I have no idea how this would be built as a high schooler.
A non-bender simply won't be able to compete with a technologically enhanced bender if technology merely serves to be an extension of the bender in the future. Only time will tell what actually happens however."
Friend: "The instances of technology you have mentioned are fairly simple, and thus they are natural extensions of one's bending. The fire cannons work because they allow a firebender to concentrate their bending through a narrow receptacle, presumably increasing the intensity of the flames. Either that or they contain fiery rocks coated with gunpowder, which a firebender ignites. Either way, they're kind of extraneous. A firebender can aim their attacks pretty well by himself, so I don't see why you would need one man to man a cannon and another to shoot fire through it.
Aang's air staff simply makes him aerodynamic enough to fly via the manipulation of air currents.
As for the synapse control machine:
"Guide their bending towards the right synapses?"
Breh. Lightning benders shoot extremely powerful, 30,000 Celsius bolts of lightning. They do not control lightning in any other way than generating, then guiding it. Your concept makes no sense because it would be akin to having a machine that sucks in a river and then magically moves a drop of water around inside a small glass cube. The river doesn't make any sense. And so lightning bending into a machine to control synapses doesn't make any sense.
Once more, lightning benders do not manipulate lightning. They shoot it. That is all.
A man with a gun can shoot a bullet, but he cannot manipulate the iron in your blood. And a machine that would allow you to use the gun to manipulate the iron in someone else's blood is a ridiculous concept, because the gun does not manipulate iron. It shoots bullets."