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Brain-to-brain interfaces have arrived. Mind blown!

Stashed in: Science!, Futurama, Awesome, science, Singularity!, Mind Blown!, The World of Tomorrow

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Robert Gonzalez writes:

In a stunning first for neuroscience, researchers have created an electronic link between the brains of two rats, and demonstrated that signals from the mind of one can help the second solve basic puzzles in real time — even when those animals are separated by thousands of miles.

Here's how it works. An "encoder" rat in Natal, Brazil, trained in a specific behavioral task, presses a lever in its cage it knows will earn it a reward. A brain implant records activity from the rat's motor cortex and converts it into an electrical signal that is delivered via neural link to the brain implant of a second "decoder" rat.

Still with us? This is where things get interesting. Rat number two is in an entirely different cage. In fact, it's in North Carolina. The second rat's motor cortex processes the signal from rat number one and — despite being unfamiliar with the behavioral task the first rat has been conditioned to perform — uses that information to press the same lever.

The experiment, the results of which are published free of charge in today's issue of Scientific Reports, was led by Duke neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, a pioneer in the field of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). Back in 2011, Nicolelis and his colleagues unveiled the first such interface capable of a bi-directional link between a brain and a virtual body, allowing a monkey to not only mentally control a simulated arm, but receive and process sensory feedback about tactile properties like texture. Earlier this month, his team unveiled a BMI that enables rats to detect normally invisible infrared light via their sense of touch.


Just... wow.

Don't panic!

hitchhikers guide white mice

"Brain-machine interfaces"?!

This is one step closer to singularity, right?

Near Death Star, here we come!

I missed the Near Death Star episode... Which season?

Oh, I remember it now. Geez, the Futurama mythology is really getting complex...

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