Direct brain-to-brain communication demonstrated in human subjects

Sep 9, 2014

By Science Daily

In a first-of-its-kind study, an international team of neuroscientists and robotics engineers have demonstrated the viability of direct brain-to-brain communication in humans. Recently published in PLOS ONE the highly novel findings describe the successful transmission of information via the internet between the intact scalps of two human subjects — located 5,000 miles apart.

“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 by leveraging existing communication pathways,” explains coauthor Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “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?'”

It turned out the answer was “yes.”

In the neuroscientific equivalent of instant messaging, Pascual-Leone, together with Giulio Ruffini and Carles Grau leading a team of researchers from Starlab Barcelona, Spain, and Michel Berg, leading a team from Axilum Robotics, Strasbourg, France, successfully transmitted the words “hola” and “ciao” in a computer-mediated brain-to-brain transmission from a location in India to a location in France using internet-linked electroencephalogram (EEG) and robot-assisted and image-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technologies.


Read more here.

8 comments on “Direct brain-to-brain communication demonstrated in human subjects

  • The important thing to remember is that brains are not congruent except at the higher levels of description and even then life events can thwart any real chance of like for like mapping. New mappings must be made accommodating the novelty of all transmitters and all receivers.

    Given the lack of perinatal and neonatal uncommitted brain wiring, neural plasticity is on the floor with adults and the training effort to channel bandwidth ratio will be terrible…very unattractive, except to the military.

    The one mapped, known, congruent USB socket into the brain is the optic nerve as spread out on the retina and after the age of four. If we can restore neural plasticity in the visual cortex (3D printed replacement skull with a bit of extra space included, V1 through V5 slowly inflated through microtubules carrying stem cell gel, so that extra associative visual cortex is grown) add a multi, multi electrode implant into the visual cortex and then train the new cortex tangles by Hebbian associative learning to map directly the co stimulation of implant electrode and precise retinal input, then we can create a wireless standardised channel that will be pre-integrated into other brain processes using visual information.

    Channel capacity could be huge. It will be eerily clean of emotional/value establishing markers. Thats the next thing, but the lack of neural congruence could have truly horrible consequences.

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