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Thu Aug 29, 2013, 07:53 AM

 

Scientist controls colleague's hand in first human brain-to-brain interface



The telepathic cyborg lives, sort of.
University of Washington scientists Rajesh
Rao and Andrea Stocco claim that they are
the first to demonstrate human brain-to-brain communication. Rao sent a signal
into a Stocco's brain via the Internet that
caused him to move his right hand. Brain-to-brain communication has previously
been demonstrated between rats and from
humans to rats.

"The experiment is a proof in concept. We
have tech to reverse engineer the brain
signal and transmit it from one brain to
another via computer," said Chantel Prat,
an assistant professor of psychology who
worked on the project.

In a press release, the experiment was
described as follows:

The team had a Skype connection
set up so the two labs could
coordinate, though neither Rao
nor Stocco could see the Skype
screens. Rao looked at a
computer screen and played a
simple video game with his mind.
When he was supposed to fire a
cannon at a target, he imagined
moving his right hand (being
careful not to actually move his
hand), causing a cursor to hit the
"fire" button. Almost
instantaneously, Stocco, who
wore noise-canceling earbuds
and wasn't looking at a computer
screen, involuntarily moved his
right index finger to push the
space bar on the keyboard in front
of him, as if firing the cannon.
Stocco compared the feeling of
his hand moving involuntarily to
that of a nervous tic.


The mind-meld between the researchers
wasn't seamless. Rao spent time training
his mind, with feedback from the computer,
to emit the brainwave for moving the right
hand so that it could be detected by the
computer. "The intention can be as
detectable as the movement itself," Prat
said. "Brain-computer interfaces have been
capturing this with increasing accuracy
over the last decade."

When the software sees the right signal it is
sent via the Internet to a computer
connected to a transcranial magnetic
stimulation device, which is positioned on
the exact spot of the brain that controls the
right hand. "It uses simple physics," Prat
said. "When the magnetic field changes, it
induces an electrical current, so a signal is
sent through the cortex of the brain and
excites the neurons, simulating what
happens naturally."

More: http://m.cnet.com/news/scientist-controls-colleagues-hand-in-first-human-brain-to-brain-interface/57600284

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