[ExI] BrainNet

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Aug 29 15:13:56 UTC 2020

Not quite Brent Allsop's neural pony-tail but pretty close with the  
advantage of being non-invasive. Imagine two or three people connected  
by EEG and SQUID helmets. One person, the transmitter, watches a video  
game being played by the person he or she is connected to called the  
receiver. The receiver, on the other hand, controls the video game but  
can't see what is happening. Can they succeed at winning the video  
game by having the transmitter send technologically-enabled telepathic  
commands to the receiver? Apparently so:


Telepathy has, so far, been clubbed under the same umbrella as magic  
tricks, voodoo and levitation as far as its feasibility is concerned.  
A team of neuroscience and computer science researchers has now inched  
humanity one step closer to making telepathy a reality. They have  
created a method that allows three people to work in concert to solve  
a problem — using only their minds and a working internet connection.

In other words, the first non-invasive interface connecting two human  
brains has been tested in a new experiment. Three researchers played a  
game of Tetris as part of a team, with two of them able to see the  
blocks and line but without any control over the game itself. The  
third person (the Receiver) can only see what the block is, but not  
whether it needs to be rotated to complete the line.

Washington University researchers Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco were  
two of the three subjects tested using this brain-to-brain interface,  
having their brains controlled over the internet by foreign impulses.  
When Rajesh played the video game — considered firing at a target, for  
instance — the EEG picks up the signal and sends it across the  
internet to the Receiver's helmet. A setup called the Transcranial  
Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) stimulates the part of Andrea’s brain  
controlling hand movement. This causes Andrea’s index finger to tap  
down on the keyboard, fire the cannon and blow up the target.

Each of the two Senders can decide if the block needs to be rotated,  
after which their decision (picked up by electrodes attached to the  
brain) is conveyed from the Sender's brain to the Receiver's. The  
Receiver's brain then processes the information, which the body  
follows like a command — in this case, the decision whether to rotate  
or not rotate a block. The game, therefore, is controlled directly by  
the brains of three people connected by wires and the internet in the  
hopes of completing and clearing a line (you've got to love classic  

  BrainNet: First brain-to-brain interface for people tests gameplay  
using just the mind
Part of the BrainNet set up is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)  
device, shown here. Image: University of Washington

Both these players had an electroencephalogram (EEG) monitor and wires  
connecting different parts of their brains remotely, according to a  
press release by the University of Washington.

"Once the Sender makes a decision about whether to rotate the block,  
they send 'Yes' or 'No' to the Receiver’s brain by concentrating on  
the corresponding light," said first author Linxing Preston Jiang, a  
student at the Allen School.

This success demonstrates two key firsts: a brain-to-brain network  
made up of more than two people, and the ability to receive and send  
information to others using only one's brain and not language or  
visual inputs. The interface provided a direct connection between  
communication pathways of one animal's brain to another animal's.

In the past, similar interfaces have been tested in rats, where they  
were seen to help rats collaborate with each other on a certain task.  
When one of the rats wasn't able to pick the right lever, the first  
rat noticed (but didn't get an additional reward for his  
contribution). The brain of this rat showed a round of task-related  
firing of neurons that made the second rat more likely to choose the  
right lever.


Stuart LaForge

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