In news which is sure to haunt forgetful boyfriends around the world, a group of international neuroscientists have successfully transmitted a message from the brain of one person in India, to the brain of another three people… in France… over the Internet.
That’s right, direct brain to brain communication is here.
Think of it as the neuroscientific version of sending an IM, except instead of your thoughts going through your phone via text, they are transferred from the sender’s brain, directly to yours.
The team achieved this world-first feat by fitting out one of their participants, known as the emitter, with a device called an electrode-based brain-computer (BCI). This device, which sits over your head, can interpret the electrical currents in the brain and translate them into a binary code similar to what is used in computers, but more compact.
"Proof that brain to brain communication is a reality has far reaching consequences..."
The emitter then has to enter that binary string into the laptop, by using their thoughts to move a white circle to different corners of the screen. Once uploaded, this code is then transmitted via the Internet to the receiver who is also fitted with a device, this time a computer-brain interface (CBI).
This device emits electrical pulses, directed by a robotic arm, through the receiver’s head, which make them ‘see’ flashes of light called phosphenes that don’t actually exist. The flashes of light are then decoded by the receiver.
While the methods and messages are fairly crude to say the least, the proof that brain to brain communication is a reality has far reaching consequences. Some have even speculated that this could lead to the biggest evolutionary leap in communication since the development of language.
The scientists involved, for what it’s worth, say the proof of the concept just scratches the surface of the opportunities this discovery could unearth, and takes advantage of technology in use already.
Whatever the consequences, brain to brain communication is now a reality which, in the not too distant future, will transform our lives in ways we cannot imagine.