Who started it? The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program was established at Princeton University in 1979 by Robert G. Jahn. For most of its history PEAR has pursued two parallel experimental programs, in "human-machine interaction" and in "remote perception." The PEAR Laboratory closed in February 2007. This work now continues with International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL).
Also of relevance is the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), also called the EGG Project, this is based on the PEAR Project Research. Since August 1998 GCP started collecting data to study interactions of consciousness with physical systems.
How does it work? The Pear projects and research have shown that Human minds can affect random physical processes, to a minor but statistically detectable degree. Through the use of Random Event Generators it has been used as a bridge to communicate on a quantum level with a patients consciousness, thus giving a diagnosis when computed for various tests.
The Random Event Generators are used in a variety of ways in various devices, some more reliable than others.