In an amazingly brilliant (although slightly creepy) manner, researchers at the University of Washington have created the world’s first brain to brain remote transfer of information between two humans. And it works in a frighteningly simple way!
Here’s how Alice controlled Bob’s mind. Alice is wearing a special type of EEG (Electroencephalograph) cap which picks up her brain waves which are translated by a connected computer. This computer transmits the signals over the internet where they are received by a second computer connected to a Magstim Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – or TMS machine. This machine stimulates specific neurons in Bob’s brain through electromagnetic induction. Alice thinks about moving her hand and her brain waves are transmitted to Bob who involuntarily moves his hand in the manner required by Alice.
The EEG cap and TMS machines are already in use in a variety of medical situations. EEGs are used to measure brain activity while TMS machines are used to stimulate activity in regions of the brain associated with depression, and to reduce activity in regions associated with the treatment of other ailments such as Parkinson’s disease. What’s so practical about this demonstration is that the EEG cap and the TMS machine are both non-invasive and don’t require any kind of implant in either subject.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of the link-up, the researchers set up a video game where Alice can see the game but has no controls, and Bob has the controls but can’t see the game. Alice thinks when she should shoot a gun to hit a target and the signal is picked up by Bob who fires the gun – and successfully hits the target. Currently, the system is a one-way communication link but the researchers are working to make it an instantaneous two-way link to enable real time conversations between the two separate brains.
B2B may soon have a completely new meaning of Brain2Brain. Now did I think of that or did someone else think that for me…