A major effort is underway in China to create the first functional brain-to-brain interface that will allow humans to control electronic devices and animals, just by using the power of the mind.
It turns out that researchers at Zhejiang University are well on their way to realizing this futuristic vision familiar to us from sci-fi movies and video games. The creation of an interface that directly connects the rat brain to the human brain has been greatly aided by breakthroughs made in recent years in the field of creating brain-computer connections, or interfaces that allow electronic devices to be controlled by thought. The first such devices were tested in 2013.
However, this method for exchanging information is much more difficult to master because we still do not know how thoughts are created and transferred in neurons. In the case of the brain-computer interface, human brain activity is monitored using an electroencephalograph and transmitted to machines. They can be easily taught to interpret the transmitted signals, even using artificial intelligence technology. Later, the signals are changed into specific actions. Meanwhile, in the case of a brain-to-brain interface, these signals need to be translated the other way. And this is where the problem arises.
However, the Chinese have managed to overcome these obstacles. They used a similar method as in the case of the brain-computer interface. So they used an electroencephalograph on human volunteers and used them to send specific signals directly to the brains of the rodents. These had previously been trained to correctly interpret them into specific actions. The same happened with humans as well. As a result, they knew and saw in real time what the rats were doing.
Amazingly, researchers from Zhejiang University managed to eliminate cables, because their entire system is based on Bluetooth wireless communication. The effect of the experiments positively surprised specialists. The prototype human-rat brain interface worked perfectly, and the rats smoothly traversed the maze exactly the way the human testers wanted.
Brain-computer and brain-brain interfaces will allow us in a few years to communicate wirelessly and without using traditional methods like smartphones and computers to do so. We will also be able to use the cleverness of rodents, for example, in various rescue operations or to deliver important information. The best example of the great progress that is being made in this matter can be research conducted by the Americans.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been researching a brain-to-brain interface that will allow us to quickly exchange thoughts with different people for some time. In their experiments, a three-person network was created. In it, participants were able to communicate with each other without uttering any words. The chairman not only understood the information sent from the participants, but was also aware of the fact that they were thinking over the situation and performing tasks. The effectiveness of this method was rated as high as 88 percent.