The so-called brain-to-brain interface is no longer a novelty for scientists: it was previously successfully tested on two rats. Traditionally, the next step involves researching a new technology in humans. Scientists were not long in coming: Rajesh Rao from the University of Computer Neurology of Washington State successfully used his brain to control the hand of his colleague Andrea Stokko. Interestingly, the connection between them was carried out via the Internet.
Rajesh Rao had to put on a special hat with electrodes on his head, which were connected to an electroencephalographic (EEG) apparatus. Through these electrodes, the machine read and digitized the electrical activity of the brain.
Meanwhile, on a nearby campus, Andrea Stokko put on another cap on his head, connected to a magnetic stimulation machine. This device is able to control the coils of "magnetic stimulation", which are located directly above the part of the subject's brain, which is responsible for the motor activity of the hand.
To conduct the experiment, the first scientist launched a video game in front of him, where the player must shoot down missiles by pressing the spacebar. Rao himself did not press any keys, but only imagined that he was doing it. The second scientist connected to the same game by holding his finger over the spacebar.
The EEG machine tracked electrical impulses and associated movements, digitized them and sent them via Skype to a nearby campus. Another computer took the signals and transmitted them to the magnetic stimulation machine. All of this ended up causing Stokko to tap the spacebar with his finger, successfully shooting down missiles in a video game.
As the scientist himself shared, the sensations are somewhat similar to a nervous tic. It should be noted that both subjects could not see each other via video communication.
The next step, scientists hope to establish two-way communication between the brains of the participants. In addition, they plan to learn how to transmit more complex information packets. Ultimately, the researchers would like to apply the technology to life: for example, by helping pilots land planes in emergencies, or by handing over the needs of disabled people to their doctors.
By the way, more recently, Dutch scientists have also advanced in the study of the brain. They developed an algorithm for reading minds.