University of Washington researchers have performed the first human to human brain interface, with one researcher sending a brain signal, via the Internet, to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher. Across the UW campus!
Previously, this notion was squared away in the realms of theory, or more likely the minds of science fiction and fantasy novelists. Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard. “The internet was a way to connect computers, now it can be a way to connect brains,” says Mr Stocco.
Electroencephalography is the procedure used to send the message from Mr Rao’s brain. It’s a technique that is routinely used by the medical profession to record brain activity from the scalp. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is the technology that manipulated Mr Stocco’s finger, and is a process of stimulating the brain to prompt a response. By combining the technologies, it allowed one person to control the responses of another.
This research has a multitude of implications, among them theoretically using it to control your personal devices such as tablet and smartphone with your mind. It could also possibly lead to overcoming communication barriers such as speech impediments, or people of different languages working together on multinational pursuits. It could also be used to give mentalist The Amazing Kreskin a run for his money at parties.