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Brain-to-Brain Thought Communication Demonstrated

| 12 Oct 2009 14:55
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A recent experiment completed at the University of Southampton might not prove that humans can communicate telepathically on their own, but it does prove that even without a mutant gene anything may be possible with the aid of technology.

At this point, we all know that someday everything will be controlled through brain power alone. All of us will eventually be sitting silent and alone in dark rooms as single tears stream down our faces due to the realization that we've lost our humanity. Nonetheless, the world still needs smart people to actually get us there, like Dr Christopher James from the University of Southampton, whom has recently completed a successful test of brain-to-brain communication.

For the experiment, Dr. James hooked up two test subjects to EEG amplifiers and had the first transmit a binary digit by imagining either right or left arm movement. This transmission went to the second test subject's PC, which would flash an LED lamp at one of two frequencies too subtle to be picked up. The transmitted information was then extracted from the second subject's brain and interpreted by a PC to be either a 1 or a 0.

This boffin's (I've always wanted to use that word) aim was to take the growing field of brain-computer interfacing one step further. Dr. James is deeming the result of his experiment "true brain-to-brain interfacing," which could have benefits "such as helping people with severe debilitating muscle wasting diseases, or with the so-called 'locked-in' syndrome to communicate, and it also has applications for gaming." Not only is this boffin (I'm just going to keep using it) a super smart dude, but I interpret that last statement about "gaming" to mean that his goal here is to figure out how to communicate "more dots" to his World of Warcraft raid party more easily.

I hate to say it, but part of Dr. James's experiment bothers me a little. The use of LED lamps to secretly place information in the second person's brain seems like a cop-out to me. This is more like brain-to-computer-to-brain communication, rather than direct brain-to-brain. Far be it from me to criticize the good doctor, as he is the boffin, and I am the internet-typing-guy. All things considered, this could be the first step on a journey towards humanity never using vocal chords again.

Source: University of Southampton via Slashdot

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