New Research On Internet Of Brains

New Research On Internet Of Brains

Direct brain-to-brain communication has been a subject of interest for many years now. In his book Beyond Boundaries, Miguel Nicolelis- one of the leaders in the field, described the merging of human brain activity as the future of humanity, the next stage in our species’ evolution.

He has already conducted a study in which he linked together with the brains of several mice using complex implanted electrodes known as brain-to-brain interfaces.  Nicolelis and his team described this achievement as the first “organic computer.”

New Research On Internet Of Brains- The Previous Study

The rats in this network learned to synchronize the electrical activity of their nerve cells to the same extent as that of a single brain. The networked brains were tested for things such as their ability to discriminate between 2 different patterns of electrical stimuli, and they routinely outperformed individual animals.

If networked animal brains are “smarter” than a single animal, imagine the capabilities of a biological supercomputer of a networked human brain.

Such a network could enable humans to work in spite of language barriers. It could provide new means of communication for the impaired. Moreover, if the rat study is accurate, networking

human brains might enhance performance.

New Research On Internet Of Brains- What’s the New Research?

The new study addressed some of these concerns by linking together the brain activity of a network of humans. Three individuals sitting in separate rooms teamed up to correctly orient a block so that it could fill a gap between other blocks in a video game. Two-person who acted as senders could see the difference and knew whether the block needed to be rotated to fit. The third individual served as the receiver.’ The individual was blinded to the correct answer and needed to rely on the instructions sent by the senders.

The two senders were armed with electroencephalographs that recorded their brain’s electrical activity. Senders were able to see the orientation of the block. Consequently, they were able to decide whether to signal the receiver to rotate it. They focused on a light flashing at a high frequency to pass the instruction to turn or concentrate on one flashing at a low rate to signal not to do so.

The differences in the flashing frequencies caused various brain responses in the senders, which were captured by the EEGs and sent, via a computer interface, to the receiver. A magnetic pulse was sent to the receiver using a transcranial magnetic stimulation device if a sender signaled to rotate. This magnetic pulse caused a flash of light (a phosphene) in the receiver’s visual field as a sign to turn the block. The absence of a signal within a discrete period was the instruction not to turn the block.

To make the activity more challenging, researchers sometimes added noise to the signal sent by one of the senders. Faced with conflicting directions, the receivers quickly learned to identify and follow the instructions of the more accurate sender.

This new research is a natural extension of work previously done in laboratory animals.

New Research On Internet Of Brains- Is the Future Bright?

Brain-to-brain interfaces also span across various species, with humans using noninvasive methods similar to those in the BrainNet study to control cockroaches or rats that had surgically implanted brain interfaces.

The team of researchers in the new study highlighted that it is the first report in which the brains of multiple humans have been linked in a completely non-invasive manner. They claim that the number of individuals whose minds could be networked is virtually unlimited. Yet the information being conveyed is currently straightforward: a yes-or-no binary instruction.

The scientists propose that information transfer using noninvasive approaches could be improved by simultaneously imaging brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to amplify the information a sender could transmit. But fMRI is not an easy procedure, and it would expand the complexity of an already extraordinarily complex approach to sharing information.

Meanwhile, the tools for more invasive and perhaps efficient brain interfacing are being developed rapidly. Elon Musk recently announced the development of a robotically implantable BCI containing 3,000 electrodes to provide extensive interaction between computers and nerve cells in the brain.

Even though the method used here is noninvasive and appears far less complicated than if a DARPA neural interface had been used, the technology still raises ethical concerns. This is mainly because the associated technologies are advancing so rapidly.

New Research On Internet Of Brains takes us a step closer to the future Nicolelis imagined- we still have a far way to go before we.

Rahul Mishra
Rahul Mishra is a Science enthusiast and eager to learn something new each day. He has a degree in Microbiology and has joined forces with Biotecnika in 2019 due to his passion for writing and science.