Interspecies Telepathy: Human Thoughts Make Rat Move
2013-04-09 0:00

By Sara Reardon | NewScientist

Telepathic control of another personís body is a small step closer. By linking the technologies of two brain/computer interfaces, human volunteers were able to trigger movement in a ratís tail using their minds.

Recently, researchers linked the brains of two rats so that they worked together to accomplish a task. Such techniques are unlikely to be applied to humans any time soon because they require invasive surgery to implant electrodes into the brain.

Now Seung-Schik Yoo of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues have created a system that connects a human to a rat via a computer, without the need for the human or the rat to have brain implants.

The human volunteers wore electrode caps that monitored their brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). Meanwhile, an anaesthetised rat was hooked up to a device that made the creatureís neurons fire whenever it delivered an ultrasonic pulse to the ratís motor cortex.



Feeling twitchy

When monitoring the humanís brain activity, the researchers looked for a specific EEG pattern known to correspond to visual stimulation. As the volunteers watched a strobe light blinking on a computer screen, the EEG wave synchronised to match the frequency of the strobe (see the "SSVEP" line on video, above).

But when they switched to concentrating on moving the ratís tail, the change in their focus disrupted the EEG, triggering a signal to be sent to the computer. The computer translated this signal into an ultrasonic pulse, which stimulated the ratís motor cortex, causing its tail to move. Using this system, all six of the volunteers were able to trigger movement in the ratís tail with little difficulty.

Yoo says it should be possible for two humans to use a similar system in the foreseeable future. Such a system could, for instance, be used to help a paralysed person relearn to use their limbs by having their therapist initially move them with their mind.

Reality check

But Ricardo Chavarriaga at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne and others say that while the experiment is an interesting application of the two technologies, linking them together does not reveal much about the ability to link two brains.

Because the rat was anaesthetised to isolate the effect of the intervention, he says it is not clear that the experiment realistically models what would happen if a conscious brain was stimulated this way.

[...]

Read the full article at: newscientist.com




Related Articles
Lab rats íacquire sixth senseí
Neuroscientists successfully control the dreams of rats. Could humans be next?
In Search Of íthe Telepathy Centerí of the Brain
Psychic pets and twin telepathy
The ítelepathyí chip, turn on the TV using the power of thought
Psychotronic Mind-Control - Synthetic Telepathy
Rat Brains Wired to Communicate at a Distance


Latest News from our Front Page

Estonia must accept African & Middle Eastern immigrants says politician
2015-05-22 3:06
Kalle Laanet, an Estonian politician, spoke at the International Migration Forum held in Tallinn. He told the audience that the question is not: Should Estonia take the African and the Middle Eastern immigrants (who illegally entered Southern Europe)? He said the question is: How will Estonia take the immigrants? ‚ÄúToday the issue is not whether Estonia should receive the refugees coming to ...
Rescuing Palmyra: History's lesson in how to save artefacts
2015-05-21 22:49
With Islamic State militants now inside the historic town of Palmyra in Syria, the question, inevitably, is whether they will destroy the ancient ruins. As IS continues to sweep through parts of Iraq and Syria, damage to centuries-old artefacts - because IS sees statues and shrines as idolatrous - is plentiful. But history has shown that, when culturally important sites are under ...
Saudi Arabia Wants to Convert Sweden to Islam
2015-05-21 20:38
Aje Carlbom is an Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Malmö Since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia has actively spread its interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism or Salafism, worldwide. It is the most literal version of Islam and affects many young Muslims, who regard society as a place to Islamize, writes social anthropologist Aje Carlbom. Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstr√∂m was ...
Professor: If You Read To Your Kids, You're 'Unfairly Disadvantaging' Others
2015-05-21 18:22
Bedtime-story privilege? According to a professor at the University of Warwick in England, parents who read to their kids should be thinking about how they're "unfairly disadvantaging other people's children" by doing so. In an interview with ABC Radio last week, philosopher and professor Adam Swift said that since "bedtime stories activities . . . do indeed foster and produce . . ...
If You Read About Conspiracies You're Just Like Osama Bin Laden Apparently
2015-05-21 3:46
At its heart, the story of Osama bin Laden's time at his house in Abbottabad is surreal. The American image of bin Laden - leering at us from under his head wrap as he plots and schemes - is undermined by the mundane realities of his life. The guy was responsible for murdering thousands of Americans and orchestrating a global ...
More News »