Total Pageviews

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Researcher Controls Another Person’s Brain Over the Internet

Researchers at the University of Washington have successfully connected two human brains over the Internet.

In an experiment called “Direct Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans,” the scientists involved in the research were able to send a brain signal through the Internet to control the way another researcher, seated in a separate area of the university campus, moved his hand.

The two researchers involved in the project, Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco, connected their brains by slipping on a hat that included a “magnetic stimulation coil,” which can read and stimulate the brain. Mr. Rao then sent a signal to Mr. Stocco’s brain, forcing him to move his right index finger to hit the “fire” button in a computer game.

As I’ve reported in my Disruption column, scientists have been building technologies that will allow people to interact with our computers using their brains, or control or even communicate with other human beings, just by thinking about it.

Technologists have been working for years to create brain-computer interfaces, which will allow us to interact with our smartphones and computers simply by using our minds. There are gadgets that exist today that can read our thoughts and allow us to do things like dodge virtual objects in a computer game.

Earlier this year, Dr. Miguel A. Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University, successfully connected the brains of two rats over the Internet, allowing them to communicate with their minds so when one rat pressed a lever, the other did the same. Scientists at Harvard Medical School have also created a brain-to-brain interface in a lab that enabled a human to move a rat’s tail just by thinking about it.

The University of Washington’s researchers used electroencephalography, or EEG, to record brain activity noninvasively and then “stimulated” the brain using a technology called transcranial magnetic.