Direct Brain-to-Brain Connection Between Humans Established

Direct Brain-to-Brain Connection Between Humans Established

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between multiple pairs of people as part of a scientific study on direct transmission of signals following the team's initial demonstration a year ago.

Led by an Indian-origin scientist Rajesh Rao, the study involved six people and the team was able to transmit the signals from one person's brain over the internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

"The new study brings our brain-to-brain interfacing paradigm from an initial demonstration to something that is closer to a deliverable technology," said co-author Andrea Stocco, research assistant professor of psychology.

"Now we have replicated our methods and know that they can work reliably with walk-in participants," Stocco added.

The research team combined two kinds of non-invasive instruments and fine-tuned software to connect two human brains in real time. The process is fairly straightforward.

One participant is hooked to an electro-encephalography machine that reads brain activity and sends electrical pulses via the internet to the second participant, who is wearing a swim cap with a magnetic stimulation coil placed near the part of the brain that controls hand movements.

(Also See: Robo Brain to Teach Robots About Humans)

Using this setup, one person can send a command to move the hand of the other by simply thinking about that hand movement.

"We will expand the types of information that can be transferred from brain to brain, including more complex visual and psychological phenomena such as concepts, thoughts and rules," said Rao.

The researchers are also exploring how to influence brain waves that correspond with alertness or sleepiness.

For example, the brain of a sleepy airplane pilot dozing off at the controls could stimulate the co-pilot's brain to become more alert.

The project could also eventually lead to "brain tutoring" in which, knowledge is transferred directly from the brain of a teacher to a student.

The study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.


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