Brain-to-Brain Communication via the Internet

Researchers conducting an experiment using transcranial magnetic stimulation

Researchers in France and India successfully collaborated in establishing brain-to-brain communication between subjects located in their respective countries. Using neurotechnologies, experimenters attempted to show that a thought could be transmitted “directly and noninvasively” via binary code from one person’s brain to another, bypassing talking or typing.

The transmitting person was hooked up to an EEG (electroencephalogram), and the receiving individual was connected to a TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) device. An EEG reads brain wave activity, and TMS can “inject” a signal into the brain. The technology was not particularly new—research involving rats’ brains was released in 2013, and computer-to-brain communication has been demonstrated—but this was the first time that such communication involving just humans was achieved over long distances. Upon receiving the message, which was a simple “hola” (hello) and “ciao” (hello/bye-bye), the recipient “saw” flashes in his or her peripheral vision, due to stimulation of the visual cortex by the TMS input. The researchers claim that the receivers were able to decode the message accurately 85 percent of the time.

Why the message between France and India was conducted using a Spanish and an Italian word is just one of the questions that this experimentation raises (another being how long will it be before cat videos are transmitted wirelessly into our brains?). Although the experiment is being hailed as a remarkable advance in human communication, it’s hard for this layperson, based on the details available, to see that communication actually occurred. Did the recipients actually understand the content of the message or just acknowledge reception of something resembling a mere electrical pulse?

Image credit: © Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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  1. jack says:

    That’s amazing.

  2. topanga says:

    That’s pretty awesome. But please, if they start putting chips in people’s brains, join the rebellion!

  3. cj says:

    omg this is so cool im wrighting a summary about this

  4. Dayna says:

    cool but pretty weird.

  5. Isabella says:

    kinda cool but i think its really weird and strange

  6. your shadow says:

    togpanga your really funny! 😉

  7. grace says:

    i wonder if it hurts in any ways