Science can always keep anyone’s mouth open, can’t it? Do you know what was the last success in the industry ? Neuroscientists at the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University (USA) managed to get three people to share thoughts. Amazing, no? To achieve this goal, the researchers had to connect the brains of the three individuals.
The connection was made by a combination of electroencephalogram (EEG) to record electrical impulses that indicate brain activity, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), in which neurons are stimulated using magnetic fields.
According to the team, the experiment could be scaled up to connect entire networks of people. In addition to establishing new methods of communication between brains, the project can also teach us more about how the human brain works.
The project was named as BrainNet. As the researchers explain, this is the first noninvasive and multiple direct brain interface for collaborative problem solving. Essentially, the project allowed the three participants involved to complete a Tetris game using direct brain-to-brain communication.
To carry out the project, scientists connected two senders (participants) to EEG electrodes. Then both had to decide whether each block needed to be rotated or not. For this, there were two flashing LEDs on both sides of the screen. One flashed at 15 Hz and one at 17 Hz.
By looking at one of the LEDs, each participant produced different signals in the brain. These signals were then sent to the electrodes, which the EEG detected. These choices were transmitted to a single “receiver” (third party).
Transmission occurred through an rTMS. The receiver could not see the whole area of the game, however it had to spin the falling block if a light signal was sent.
According to scientists, in five different groups of three people, participants achieved an average level of accuracy of 81.25%. Scientists consider the value reasonable because it is a first attempt.
To add a layer of complexity to the game, senders had the ability to perform a second round. This made it possible to be sure whether the receiver had made the right move or not. In addition, based on brain communications alone, the receivers could also detect which sender was most reliable.
Although the current system can only transmit one “bit” (or flash) of data at a time, the team believes the project could be expanded in the future. The work, of course, still needs to be properly analyzed by the scientific community. However, it is worth remembering that it already indicates possible paths for the transmission of thought.
The same group of researchers had conducted a mock study recently. Scientists had successfully connected two brains in the past. Instead of playing Tetris, however, participants had to play a 20-question game against each other.
LED lights were also used in the experiment. One served to signal the answer as YES and the other to signal as NO. At the time, the experiment was also a phenomenon.