Feeds

Boffin snatches control of colleague's BODY with remote control BRAIN HAT

No rude gestures, though, this is SCIENCE

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

In an announcement that's going to be a boon to the tin-foil haberdashery business, scientists at the University of Washington (UW) have successfully built a non-invasive system to remotely control the actions of humans.

Brain to Brain communications at the University of Washington

Mind control from the Ministry of Silly Hats

On August 12, Professor Rajesh Rao, wearing an black and green EEG skullcap set to monitor the left motor cortex of the brain, which coordinates hand movement, mentally moved a finger to fire a cannon in a video game. He made no physical movement; he just thought about the action.

The results were recorded and pinged across campus to the UW's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, where fellow researcher Andrea Stocco was wearing a rather fetching purple swimming cap containing a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil. Stocco wore earplugs to reduce outside stimuli and his hand rested on top of a standard keyboard.

The magnetic coil, operating at 69 per cent power, induced current in a spot on his brain that controls the wrist and fingers and caused a finger on Stucco's right hand to twitch and hit the keyboard, a movement the scientist described as like "a nervous tic".

Researchers cheer as mind meld completed

"Brain-computer interface is something people have been talking about for a long, long time," said Professor Chantel Prat, Stocco's wife and research partner, who helped conduct the experiment. "We plugged a brain into the most complex computer anyone has ever studied, and that is another brain."

Four test sessions were carried out, with five to seven transmissions per session. Although the first try was abbreviated due to network connectivity issues, the team got the brain-to-brain control signal to work in over 90 per cent of the experiments.

That said, the team was keen to stress that the technology couldn't be used to force action against a person's will. While Stocco made the obligatory 'Vulcan mind meld" joke, Prat stressed that this was being managed by state-of-the-art equipment under strict laboratory conditions.

"I think some people will be unnerved by this because they will overestimate the technology," she said. "There's no possible way the technology that we have could be used on a person unknowingly or without their willing participation."

Mind-to-computer interfaces are nothing new, and UW has already had some success in implanting electronics directly into the brain to control epileptic seizures. But by transmitting brain-to-brain, the team thinks they can open up a whole new field of personal networking.

"It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain," Rao said. "This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.