Like Professor Xavier in the X-Men, someday we too could speak from one brain to the other with the aid of technology.
That looks like our future thanks to a group of researchers who have successfully managed to achieve brain-to-brain communication via what they call 'non-invasive techniques' over a distance of 5000 miles.
How did the successful brain-to-brain exchange take place? The scientists say that it was through the combination of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and computer-brain interfaces (CBI). Combining the two allowed the conscious transmission of information between human brains without needing involve motor or peripheral sensory systems. And leaving the scalp intact (we think this bit is very important).
In a century or so, obsolete telephones?
So what exactly happened? Using a combination of Internet-connected electroencephalograms and robotised transcranial magnetic simulation (TMS), signals from one brain to the other were transmitted.
Via electrodes attached to a subject's scalp, electrical currents would be recorded. These are interpreted by a computer and translated to a control output. Usually this would be translated to maybe a drone but this time it was a human being.
In the study, four participants were involved. One participant transmitted his thoughts from the brain-computer interface, while the other three were hooked up to the computer-brain interface to receive said thoughts.
The transmitter's words "Ciao" and "Hola" were converted into binary and then shown to the participant who was told to assign different actions to 1 and 0. An EEG then captured the electrical information the brain emitted thus creating a neural code of sorts.
Not quite suitable for auto-projecting words into people's heads given the slow two-bit transmissions, but it could hold potential for say, stroke victims or those with limited movement. In the meantime we can keep dreaming of controlling our colleagues with our minds.
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