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Scientists Transmit Thoughts Brain-to-Brain Between Two Humans: Study

Image: Scientists Transmit Thoughts Brain-to-Brain Between Two Humans: Study
Man and woman faces profiles with connected brains, concept of communication. (dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 08 Sep 2014 06:58 AM

Scientists have transmitted brain-to-brain thoughts between two humans for the first time without the assistance of audio, text, or other traditional communication mechanisms.

"We wanted to find out if one could communicate directly between two people by reading out the brain activity from one person and injecting brain activity into the second person, and do so across great physical distances," explained the study's co-author, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"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?'"


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According to CNet.com, the researchers used a combination of Internet-connected electroencephalogram and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation to help create a sort of telepathy in their subjects. In the lab, the technology took the form of an electrode cap for the person sending their thoughts, and a forehead electrode and eye mask for the person receiving the thoughts.

Scientists translated the words "Ciao" and "Hola" into binary code — a combination of 1's and 0's — and gave it to the sender. By moving either his hands or his feet, he could signal a one or a zero to a receiving subject 5,000 miles away. Brain stimulators on the three receiving subjects induced flashes of light in their field of vision, indicating a one or a zero depending on where the flash occurred. By keeping track of the binary code, they could translate it back into the words "Ciao" and "Hola."

The full details and results of the study were published in the journal Plos One.

Although the telepathic technology remains rudimentary — a few bits per second — the researchers said that direct brain-to-brain communication will have a great many applications in the future.

"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 wrote in their report.

They also cautioned that the technology could make possible any number of malicious and nefarious activities, and must be developed with this in mind.

"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."



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Scientists have transmitted brain-to-brain thoughts between two humans for the first time without the assistance of audio, text, or other traditional communication mechanisms.
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2014-58-08
Monday, 08 Sep 2014 06:58 AM
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