As far fetched as it may sound, scientists at the University of Washington have done what most of us would consider something of fiction straight out of a multi-million dollar Hollywood production. Regardless, the researchers that have been fine tuning this method over the past year have successfully confirmed that we can indeed control the movements of another person using only thoughts transmitted over the internet. This could put a completely new spin on “working from home”!
Brain-to-brain interface via Internet replicated, improved
November 6, 2014 | kurzweilai.net
University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago, reported on KurzweilAI. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal. The research team combined two kinds of noninvasive instruments and fine-tuned software to connect two human brains in real time. Using this setup, one person can send a command to move the hand of the other by simply thinking about that hand movement.
With new funding, the research team will expand the types of information that can be transferred from brain to brain, including more complex visual and psychological phenomena such as concepts, thoughts and rules. Eventually, for example, the brain of a sleepy airplane pilot dozing off at the controls could stimulate the copilot’s brain to become more alert. The project could also eventually lead to “brain tutoring,” in which knowledge is transferred directly from the brain of a teacher to a student.
It is hard to conceive the different applications that this technology could be used for. For some this technology could be viewed as giving up another major part of our humanity for the sake of doing things that have never been done. For others, this type of advancement in understanding the human brain and finding ways to enhance the brains abilities can only elevate humanity. No one knows where science will take us in the decades to come but the fact that our world is changing is undeniable.