In a press release, two scientists from the University of Washington claim to be the first to demonstrate brain-to-brain communication. A signal was sent from Rajesh Rao to the brain of Andrea Stocco via the internet, causing him to move his hand.
Chantel Prat, an assistant professor of psychology who also worked on the project said, “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.” A lot of work was involved in achieving the results of the experiment.
Rao had to spend time training his mind with feedback from the computer to emit the brainwave for moving the right hand so that it coulld be detected by the brain. “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.”
The software detects the right signal and sends it via the Internet to a computer that is connected to a transcranial magnetic stimulation device, which is posistioned on the exact spot of the brain that controls the right hand. Although this may seem like a small advancement, the scientists believe it shows what is possible.
Prat explains, “Right now the only way to transfer information from one brain to another is with words. With advances in computer science and neuroscience, people could eventually perform complicated tasks, such as flying an airplane, and dancing the tango, by transferring information in a noninvasive way from one brain to another.
You can imagine all complex motor skills, which are difficult to verbalize, are just chains of procedures.” There is a concern that people will not like the idea of this technology being used to control minds against their will but Prat says at the moment this is not possible. “The signal is being transmitted remotely through the Internet, but the humans are connected to physical equipment and must be trained to create the right signals. There is no way to control minds without their willingness,” she said. Who knows how this will develp in the future.