66105760 66105759 Scientists create first brain to brain interface using rats

Scientists at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina have created the first brain-to-brain interface using rats, another science-fiction idea that has become reality.

Scientists at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina have created the first brain-to-brain interface using rats, another science-fiction idea that has become reality.

 
Professor Migquel Nicolelis led a team of scientists in using wired brain implants in the rodents, which they demonstrated could send sensory and motor signals from one rat to another, which could then be correctly interpreted by the second rat.
 
The idea came from previous work with brain implants, where they were hooked up to a computer and let the researchers know what a rat was going to do. Nicolelis questioned if it was then possible to get another brain to do the job of the computer.
 
An example of the trials used included linking the brains of two rats and presenting each of them with a series of levers. The first, designated the encoder, was shown which lever to pull to receive a reward. The second, called the decoder, was not given this cue, but would instead have to rely on the signals transmitted through the brain-to-brain connection. 
 
srep01319 f1 Scientists create first brain to brain interface using rats
 
The scientists recorded a success rate of 70 percent, but they reported that it could take up to 45 days for the rats to learn how to use the brain signals correctly.
 
The experiments were so successful that the scientists were even able to link the brains of rats that were thousands of miles apart. If similar technology could be applied to humans it could open a wave of new technology, effectively amounting to the fabled art of telepathy.
 
The same scientists previously demonstrated how they could make rats aware of infrared light, which is normally invisible to them. The brain implants were linked to infrared sensors, effectively giving them a “sixth sense.”
 
Nicolelis said the technology could be used to link millions of brains trying to figure out a problem, with all of them sharing a solution. He expects this to be a method of communication for humans in a few decades time.
 
The study can be found in the journal Scientific Reports.
 
Source: BBC
Image Credit: BBC/Scientific Reports