Brain to brain communication
University of Washington
In what is being hailed as the first noninvasive person-to-person brain interface, computer science and engineering professor Rajesh Rao transmitted a brain signal to assistant research professor in psychology Andrea Stocco, causing Stocco’s fi nger to move on a keyboard. While researchers at Duke University had previously demonstrated brain-to brain communication between two rats, and scientists from Harvard University had completed a similar demonstration between a human and a rodent, Rao and Stocco believe their experiment is the first ever successful trial of human-to-human brain interaction.Their experiment, which was captured on video in its entirety, occurred on August 12. Rao, who was wearing a cap with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, was in one laboratory while Stocco was in another located on the other side of the university’s campus.For the trial, Stocco was wearing a swim cap that had been marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil placed directly over his left motor cortex – the region of the human brain responsible for controlling the hand movement. A Skype connection was established between the two labs for coordination purposes, but neither researcher could see the other over the voice-over-IP service screens, the school said. According to the university, Rao sat facing a computer screen and used his mind to play a simple video game. When the software called for him to fire a cannon at a target, The imagined moving his right hand – but made certain he did not actually, physically move it – to cause a cursor to hit the “fire button.” At almost the same exact time, Stocco, who was wearing noise-cancelling earbuds and was not looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on a keyboard – as if pushing the “fire” button himself.