Scientists Send Messages Directly From One Brain To Another

Sep 7, 2014

By Francie Diep

So a team of neuroscientists sent a message from the brain of one person in India, to the brains of three people in France, using brainwave-reading equipment and the Internet. Yes, really.

The process is slow and cumbersome. It also doesn’t make use of any bleeding-edge technology. Instead, it puts together neurorobotics software and hardware that have been developed by several labs in recent years. We’re not predicting that this will have practical applications, or society-changing implications, any time soon. Still, it’s pretty amusing that somebody did this, and we’re here to give you the step-by-step instructions on how.

To wit:

  1. The emitter—we’re using the vocab and italics from the original paper because they are awesome—wears an EEG cap on her scalp that records the electrical activity in her brain. The cap communicates wirelessly with a laptop that shows, on its screen, a white circle on a black background.
  2. The emitter translates the message she wants to send into an obscure five-bit binary system called Bacon’s cipher, which is more compact than the binary code that computers use.

12 comments on “Scientists Send Messages Directly From One Brain To Another

  • This is so steampunk. Its only a matter of time for The Clacks. This back of the head semaphore has to be the new thing.

    Seriously, someone needs to brave up to a NFC enabled retinal implant. (40 cents per Near Field Coms chip.) We’ll try and keep the google ads pertinent and down to a minimum….

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  • 2
    Katy Cordeth says:

    This is so steampunk. Its only a matter of time for The Clacks. This back of the head semaphore has to be the new thing.

    It’ll be a hot day in Bolvangar before I give up my lodestone resonator.

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  • Phil Rimmer.
    I had to look up ‘steampunk’ and ‘The Clacks’ ….think I can figure out NFC enabled retinal implant (but only just). Is this some ‘brave new world’ I’m entering? 😉

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  • Its the fact that the inputting transducer into the receiving brain has to move around to do its job that makes this so comically naff and unwhizzy. It makes you realize that inputting into the brain needs a receiver of sorts and this will need to be trained to its task like all other brain transducers (eyes, ears, olfactory, skin, taste, all the proprioceptors) so why not use these sensors (or at least pickaback their connecting nerves) and their training. Putting visual information into your eyes, preformatted could use your optics for input or it could radio-in from elsewhere. Retinal implants are going from strength to strength. This is potentially easier than going into the visual cortex because we understand the trained and ready to go format.

    Pigeons have something like a headup display in their retinas for literally visualising magnetic fields.

    Near Field Communications is on your android phone already. It puts power and data into smart electronics without electrical connection. You could hold the phone up to your head to see the pictures.

    Yes I know we do that already but you could plug in streetview or maps as an in the head overlay. Tedious meetings no more…..

    It is a brave new world of sorts but I think it will all proceed slowly and no single step will be that astonishing.

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  • It would obviously be necessary to be able to read and write in binary code in order for this to have any use, however, it has long been a topic of science fiction to use telepathy to communicate over vast distances without the delay of travel time. What we are seeing here in my opinion, is the beginning of the scienceification, yes this is a new word, of ESP.
    What was in only science fiction in the past becomes the science of the future (Jules Verne, Issac Asimov) We already have rudimentary matter transference in the current ability to create objects in a special printer. How far are we from the Transporter of “Star Trek” fame? Or is it technology that we already have, as I am sure most of the intelligent people who frequent this site know the technology we know about as a member of the “general public” is probably 25 years behind that which is currently “classified” by our supposedly open government.
    As a reasonably intelligent person, I believe there is something to extra sensory perception, at least to the possibility that the human brain has innate abilities we have yet to explore fully, or as mentioned above, that we have been made aware of.
    It is exciting to live in a time where these matters that were purely science fiction in the past begin to become part of our reality. I only hope that I live long enough, or become wealthy enough to take advantage of technology to extend my life beyond a “normal” life span so I may see the results of these new technologies.

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  • 11
    Christopher says:

    There needs to be an altruistic rober baron who uses his ability to make immoral amounts of money a public utility. A Bruce Wayne, who gives to the people technology and infrastructure and tools and ideas all out the need for progress. I see a New World in my mind but not in this life. Corporate conglomerations and long established, oligarchical succession of wealth and station have taken over the planet and the trend is such that it will only continue. I want to see this Brave New World but i fear man is doomed for a conflict between the rulers and the ruled.

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  • 12
    Christopher says:

    I think what he is saying is this is one of the best noninvasive machines. In other words a machine that can read your thoughts without the needs of surgery.

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