First there were keyboards, then touchscreens, now voice control – but next is mind control. Scientists have successfully sent a message between two brains across 5,000 miles.
The brain-to-brain message was sent from the thoughts of one person directly into the thoughts of another. This is still early stage stuff but could be the beginning of a new way of interacting with machines and each other. One of the biggest problems with voice controlling gadgets is feeling like a tit in public – that and them generally not working very well. This new achievement could change all that.
The message was sent from a lab in India to one in France. The sender was hooked up to an EEG which captured electrical information. The words "Caio" and "Hola" were sent in coded form. A movement was linked to a 1 or a 0, which represented letters – so moving a hand was a 1 while moving a foot was a 0. This information was sent "by conventional connections" to the receiver.
The receiver wore a TMS headset which was able to stimulate the brain directly using electrical impulses. The result was an appearance of light flashes – despite the person's eyes and ears being covered. If the light was in one place it was a 1, if it was in another it was a 0. The result was a translation of the word which was clearly received.
Obviously this is very early stage stuff but it opens up a world of possibilities for the future of communications. In the short term this research can help communication with stroke patients, for example. In the future it could mean controlling gadgets and talking to each other with little more than a thought.