Cornell Researchers Create Neurological Interface Between Three Human Brains

Photo Credit, MARY LEVIN/UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Building on University of Washington research that dates from 2014, Cornell University researchers recently published their success in creating a problem-solving interface between multiple human brains.

“The interface allows three human subjects to collaborate and solve a task using direct brain-to-brain communication,” the researchers reported.

The experiment involved two Senders and one Receiver playing a Tetris-like game as a team. The Senders could see shapes falling on a screen and made mental decisions about which way the shapes should fall. Their decisions were collected by electroencephalography (EEG), decoded, and transmitted to the Receiver via the internet. The decoded messages were then delivered to the Receiver through magnetic stimulation of the occipital cortex. The Receiver could not see the screen but was responsible for making the final decision about which way the shape should rotate and fall, based on the messages received from the Senders. With five separate teams, the Cornell researchers achieved an 81.3 percent accuracy rate in transmission.

The first successful joining of human minds happened in 2015 when researchers from the University of Washington used neuroimaging and neurostimulation technologies to digitize neural content from one subject in a game of 20 Questions and then transmitted the re-coded content into the brain of the other subject. In that ground-breaking experiment, researchers were able to achieve a 78 percent success rate in the transmission of correct answers from the Senders to the Receiver.

The Cornell researchers are enthusiastic about the future implications that may come from their research. They suggested that,

“Our results raise the possibility of future brain-to-brain interfaces that enable cooperative problem solving by humans using a “social network” of connected brains.

Sources

J., S., A., L., D., A., . . . N., R. P. (2018, September 23). BrainNet: A Multi Person Brain-to-Brain Inerface for Direct Collaboration Between Brains. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.08632

Stocco, A., Prat, C. S., Losey, D. M., Cronin, J. A., Wu, J., Abernethy, J. A., & Rao, R. P. (2015, September 23). Playing 20 Questions with the Mind: Collaborative Problem Solving by Humans Using a Brain-to-Brain Interface. Retrieved from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137303

Image Source:

Shultz Nov, D. (2017, December 08). Direct brain-to-brain interface links up humans over the Internet. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/11/direct-brain-brain-interface-links-humans-over-internet