harvard brain to brain

In a study that sounds like it was ripped straight out of a sci-fi movie, researchers at Harvard have created the first noninvasive brain-to-brain interface between a human and…a rat. All the human connected to the machine has to do is think and he can control the motion of the rat’s tail. While nowhere near as staggering as a connection between two human brains, this is definitely an important step in that direction. Read more for an explanation of the technology behind this breakthrough.

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Scientists have little understanding of how our thoughts are converted to instructions that the cells in our brains can follow, so very specific thoughts can’t exactly be passed between human and rat. Using ultrasound stimulation, which allows this technology to be as non-invasive as it is, scientists can target a very specific region of a rat’s brain and activate it using thoughts originating from a human brain.

For now, they’re targeting the section that controls the tail. The human attached to the rat looks at a specific pattern (that’s how they get the human to think a specific thought), and a computer interprets this signal as the correct one and passes it along to stimulate the very specific portion of the rat’s brain that controls the tail. Eventually, more complex ideas will be transmitted, with human-to-human connections off on the horizon of future discovery.

Via ExtremeTech.