Mind control. Scientists use one brain to control another

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Researchers at the University of Washington have performed what is believed to be the first researchers have performed what they believe is the first non-invasive human-to-human brain interface – which basically means that one brain can control another brain in a successful experiment that opens up boundless science fiction scenarios.

One researcher was able to send a brain signal through the internet that then controlled the hand movements of a second researcher. Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of the campus, causing Stocco's finger to move on a keyboard.

"The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains," Stocco said. "We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain."

Rao had put on a cap bristling with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, which reads electrical activity in the brain. Meanwhile Stocco was sporting a purple swimming cap marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil that was placed directly over his left motor cortex, which controls hand movement.

Rao looked at a computer screen with a basic video game unfolding on it. When he was supposed to fire a cannon at a target, he imagined moving his right hand without actually moving it to hit the "fire" button. Almost instantaneously, Stocco, who wore noise-canceling earbuds and wasn't looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him, as if firing the cannon. Stocco compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of a nervous tic.

"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."

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