When I watched SAO for the second time, I started to wonder: how does Nerve Gear work?

In SAO, you have all five senses with you, and also when you use the Nerve Gear, you close your eyes. So, how is it possible for the nerve gear to do all this?

Lastly, how does Nerve Gear kill someone?

  • i'm quite sure the NervGear works by reading and interfearing with brainwaves or something which is why the body remains still despite people using the muscles of their body. the second part to your question is explained in the first episode of season 1 in that the NervGear can emit a microwave that fries the brain
    – Memor-X
    Jun 19, 2016 at 12:58
  • 2
    put on nervegear, pray you wake up, profit
    – anon
    Jun 19, 2016 at 16:23

3 Answers 3


In SAO, you have all five senses with you and also when you use the nerve gear, you close your eyes so how is it possible for the nerve gear to do all this?

It connects to your brain, transmitting signals of what you do in the virtual world. You close your eyes because nerve gear transmits visual data too.

Source from manga vol 1

NerveGear not only simulates sight and sound, it also simulates taste, smell and even touch. In other words, it can completely immerse players in a virtual world. However, its true potential lies within the fact that it doesn't just send virtual sensations to the user. It intercepts and manipulates the signals sent by the user's brain.

Another source from manga vol 1

When using NerveGear, all the signals sent by the brain are blocked an processed so that they only affect the avatar in the virtual world. This immobilizes the user's physical body. So there's no risk of running into walls in the real world while playing in the virtual one.

NerveGear only has one method of input. It is shaped like a helmet that covers most of the user's face. Inside, millions of signal units generate electromagnetic waves to stimulate out brains.

Nothing the user "sees" and "hears" in the virtual world actually comes from our eyes and ears. Everything is manipulated directly in the respective parts of our brain used to process each of the five senses.

Lastly, how does a nerve gear kill someone?

It uses electromagnetic waves to "fry" your brain.

Source from manga, vol 2

If these things are attempted, the signal sensors in your nerve gears will emit a strong electromagnetic pulse...

Destroying your brain and stopping all of your basic bodily functions - basically, instant death.

  • Image sources: SAO Manga vol1 and 2
    – ave
    Jun 19, 2016 at 13:55
  • I've read the light novels that both the anime and the manga are based off of, and this same information is there as well.
    – Cyberson
    Jun 19, 2016 at 21:02

the nerve gear sends fake signals to the brain at a frequency unique the brain frequency. then the nerve gear produces artificial waves to stimulate brain to provide artificial senses as said in sword art online. then the nerve gear sends a "paralyzing" agent to immobilize the body as to not cause harm to the player. finally the nerve gear sends more waves to put you into a sleep like trance and projects your brain waves on a public database and there you have it sword art online.

  • 1
    Can you cite some sources for this? Some episodes where this was explained or even a wiki page?
    – Torisuda
    Mar 18, 2017 at 4:02

the way the nerve gear kills you is by overloading the brain with artificial waves and then disconnecting from the brain simultaneously leaving the brain no time to react therefore overloading the brain and frying it

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