It has been one of my childhood fancies to imagine I could hear God’s thoughts. If he could hear my prayers it naturally means I could hear him as well. Over the years such fancies had evaporated since reason became the proof of one coming to man’s estate. Recently I came across this news item:an international team of researchers has successfully achieved brain-to-brain transmission of information between humans.
Humans just got a step closer to being able to think a message into someone else’s brain on the other side of the world.
“One such pathway is, of course, the internet, so our question became, ‘Could we develop an experiment that would bypass the talking or typing part of internet and establish direct brain-to-brain communication between subjects located far away from each other in India and France ?'”
Suppose the brain could be stimulated from outside using robot with a series of images? Using electromagnetic induction images could be beamed from person to person. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS explains the devise. Thus the team used a similar set-up to that commonly used in brain-computer interface studies. A human subject had electrodes attached to their scalp, which recorded electrical currents in the brain as the subject had a specific thought. Usually, this is interpreted by a computer and translated to a control output, such as a robotic arm, or a drone.
In this case, though, the output target was another human.
The study had four participants, aged between 28 and 50. One participant was assigned to the brain-computer interface to transmit the thought, while the other three were assigned to the computer-brain interface to receive the thought.
At the BCI end, the words “Ciao” and “Hola” were translated into binary. This was then shown to the emitter subject, who was instructed to envision actions for each piece of information: moving their hands for a 1 or their feet for a 0. An EEG then captured the electrical information in the sender’s brain as they thought of these actions, which resulted in a sort of neural code for the binary symbols — which in turn was code for the words.
This information was then sent to the three recipient subjects via TMS headsets, stimulating the visual cortex so that the recipient, with ears and eyes covered, saw the binary string as a series of bright lights in their peripheral vision: if the light appeared in one location, it was a 1, and the second location denoted a 0. This information was received successfully and decoded as the transmitted words.
This experiment, the researchers said, represents an important first step in exploring the feasibility of complementing or bypassing traditional means of communication.. Potential applications perhaps include communicating with stroke patients..
“We anticipate that computers in the not-so-distant future will interact directly with the human brain in a fluent manner, supporting both computer- and brain-to-brain communication routinely,” the team concluded. “The widespread use of human brain-to-brain technologically mediated communication will create novel possibilities for human interrelation with broad social implications that will require new ethical and legislative responses.” (Michelle Starr-C/net)