Boffins make brain-to-brain direct communication breakthrough
Sep 27 2015
If you could eschew the telephone, and instead wear a cap that allowed you to share your thoughts with someone else, very far away, would you?
"This is the most complex brain-to-brain experiment, I think, that's been done to date in humans", the study's lead author Andrea Stoccosaid in a statement, ABC News reported. Two researchers participated and a message was sent from one to the other in order to communicate when to move their hand at the right moment during a video game.
UW grad student Jose Ceballos, the "respondent", wears an electroencephalography (EEG) cap that records brain activity and sends a response to a second participant.
To indicate his or her answer, the respondent directed his or her gaze to either of two LED lights, one flashing at 13 Hz coding for "yes", the other flashing at 12 Hz for "no". This most commonly takes the form of a flash or a thin line of light, and it would let the inquirer know that the answer was yes.
During the experiment, two volunteers engaged in the game in lab facilities located 1 mile apart.
Two isolated game participants can now play a game over the internet by reading each other's mind, without having the need to see or speak to each other.
KIRO 7's Alison Grande is meeting with researchers at UW this afternoon and putting the story together for KIRO 7 News at 5:45 p.m.
Participants successfully guessed the correct object in 72% of the real games but only 18% in the control rounds. The respondent is shown an object (for example, a dog) on a computer screen, and the second participant, or "inquirer", sees a list of possible objects and associated questions.
The "yes" or "no" response is transmitted to the inquirer over the Internet, and it triggers a magnetic coil positioned behind the inquirer's head.
The research team is also investigating the possibility of transmitting brain states such as sending signals from an alert person to an exhausted one, or from a focused person to a person with ADHD.
Going forward, the study is likely to find application in complex ailments involving the brain, such as in ADHD. This could be simply transferring information from teacher to student, but it also could involve transferring signals from a healthy brain to one that is developmentally impaired, or affected by a stroke. The experiment uses conscious experiences with the help of visually experienced signals, and two people are required to collaborate.
In other words, they saw the visual interruption and interpreted it as a "yes". Researchers explained that the inquirer may have incorrectly guessed the answer because he is not sure if he has seen the phosphene appearing or not.
"But it requires a translation". The researchers say that they have found a way to take information from one's brain and put it into another person's brain without much translation. "We transmit them using a magnet that sits over the head and can influence brain activity", described UW Senior Darby Lowsey. No flash of light meant no. From there, they could ask more questions before identifying what they thought the item was.