A science tech team of computational neuroscientists and psychologists at the University of Washington have managed to create telepathy enabling one test subject to use his thoughts to control another test subject’s body as he played a video game a mile away.
This is the first direct brain-to-brain interface in humans and present results from experiments involving six different subjects.
Six participants (aged 21–38, Figure A) took part in the experiment over the course of three months. All participants were recruited through word of mouth, were fully informed about the experimental procedure and its potential risks and benefits, and gave written consent prior to the beginning of the experiment.
During each experimental session, two participants had to carry out a specific task in the form of a series of consecutive trials of a computer game. The game was designed so that the two participants had to play cooperatively, and the required cooperation could only be achieved through direct brain-to-brain communication.
The goal of the game (Figure B) was to defend a city (located beyond the left visible part of the screen) from enemy rockets fired by a pirate ship on the lower right portion of the screen (represented by a skull-and-bones insignia).
To defend the city, the subjects had to fire the cannon by pressing a touch-pad. If the cannon was fired before the moving rocket reached the city, the rocket was destroyed and the city was saved. In 50% of the trials, a friendly “supply airplane” flew across the screen instead of a pirate rocket. In such trials, participants had to avoid firing the cannon to let the supply airplane enter the city. Note that this task stresses the real-time nature of our BBI because the participants have to destroy the rocket before it crosses the screen for the trial to be successful.
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