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Uw Study Shows Direct Brain Interface Between Humans

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During a brain-to-brain interface demonstration, University of Washington student Darby Losey sends brain signals about firing a cannon in a computer game to a student in a different building.

University of Washington researchers have replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection they first demonstrated in August.

Credit: Mary Levin/University of Washington

Researchers at the University of Washington say they have replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection they first demonstrated in August, enabling someone to move the hand of another person just by thinking about it.

The researchers used a pair of non-invasive instruments and software to carry out the brain-to-brain communication. One participant, the sender, was connected to an electroencephalography machine, which recorded the electrical activity of their brain, which was then sent via the Internet to a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil worn by the other participant, the receiver.

The participants were located in separate buildings and were unable to communicate with each other any other way. The sender was watching a computer game that involved firing a cannon to intercept rockets being launched at a city, but was unable to interact with the game, while the receiver's hand was poised over the touchpad that controlled the cannon. The sender would think about clicking the touchpad to fire the cannon and in another building the receiver's hand would twitch accordingly.

During testing with six participants, the researchers achieved accuracy rates ranging from 25 to 83 percent. They plan to continue their research and hope to develop methods of transmitting not just motor commands, but concepts, thoughts, and rules.

From UW Today
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