About a month ago we reported on a fascinating experiment performed at Duke University in which two rats were connected through a brain-to-brain interface (BBI) that allowed one rat to take actions based on what the other one was seeing. In a sort of digital telepathy, the experiment showed that information can be passed between brains of similar animals and used as though it was one’s own.
A new study out of Harvard just published in PLOS ONE has demonstrated similar results, but in a very different way. While the rats in the Duke study had surgically inserted implants, the researchers in the latest study wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of transcranial focused ultrasound on being able to trigger specific actions in an animal. To that end, an anesthetized rat had an ultrasound device positioned over its scalp while a human subject wore an EEG cap that was wired to the ultrasound. After a bit of fine tuning, the new system successfully worked as a brain-to-brain interface, with the human being able to seemingly telepathically move the rat’s tail. Although the practical applications of the research are still very limited, the fact that an action was passed along from one brain to another without having to use highly invasive implants is in itself a big achievement.
Here’s an action packed video demonstrating the results:
Flashback: Neural Link Lets One Rat’s Brain Guide Another (w/video)
Open access article in PLOS ONE: Non-Invasive Brain-to-Brain Interface (BBI): Establishing Functional Links between Two Brains…