How Close Are We to Brain-Brain Interfaces?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Brain-Brain Interfaces

Neuroscientists have only just begun deciphering and decoding the mysteries of the human brain. Already though, initial work has been done that one day may allow us to share information, thoughts and experiences through direct brain-brain interfaces.

Brain-to-brain interfaces are gradually moving from the realm of science fiction, to the space of the laboratory.

Researcher Miguel Nicolelis, for instance has been able to demonstrate long distance communication between the brains of animals.  In experiments Nicolelis' team attached an "encoder" rat in Brazil, that was trained in a specific task, namely pressing a lever in its cage it to earn a reward. A brain implant recorded activity from the rat's brain and converted it into an electrical signal that was delivered via neural link to the brain implant of a second "decoder" rat.

brain-brain interface

Rajesh Rao at the University of Washington and his team of researchers have also performed what they believe was the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface a few years ago, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a another person.

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In humans so far, brain-brain interface technology remains in early development., The most advanced brain-to-brain interfaces will most likely require direct access to the brain. The need to perform major invasive surgery could be alleviated by the evolution of technology. One such promising avenue for this is Elon Musk's neural lace. The prolific investor/inventor/entrepreneur has recently announced the creation of a company, Neuralink, where the goal is to create minimally invasive brain implant technology.

Musk hopes that the technology may help us communicate with machines and artificial intelligence, but by extension, neural lace may also permit direct brain-brain communication as well.

The implications of the technology and its potential future uses are far broader, Anders Sandberg, from the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University has said. "The main reason we are running the planet is that we are amazingly good at communicating and coordinating. Without that, although we are very smart animals, we would not dominate the planet."

This video from Galactic Public Archives explores brain-brain interfaces:

"Where is this going? We have no idea. We're just scientists," Nicolelis said at a TED talk. "We are paid to be children, to basically go to the edge and discover what is out there."

By  33rd SquareEmbed


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