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article imageNeurological scientists to create telepathic rats

By Eko Armunanto     Mar 3, 2013 in Science
Scientists claim wired brain connections between rats allow them to communicate across continents using the internet. Rats have collaborated telepathically across continents using neurotechnology to transmit thoughts directly between those rats' brains.
As described by Miguel Pais-Vieira, Mikhail Lebedev, Carolina Kunicki, Jing Wang and Miguel A. L. Nicolelis in their scientific report entitled "A Brain-to-Brain Interface for Real-Time Sharing of Sensorimotor Information", scientists are now able to connect one rat's brain in the U.S. to another's in Brazil, allowing for the transfer of sensory information. The test used one rat as an encoder of a specific reward command, and the other as a decoder of that same command, effectively proving the viability of cross-continental brain-to-brain communications.
"A brain-to-brain interface (BTBI) enabled a real-time transfer of behaviorally meaningful sensorimotor information between the brains of two rats", the report says. Their study concludes that brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) have emerged as a new paradigm that allows brain-derived information to control artificial actuators and communicate the subject's motor intention to the outside world without the interference of the subject's body. For the past decade and a half, numerous studies have shown how brain-derived motor signals can be utilized to control the movements of a variety of mechanical, electronic and even virtual external devices.
A lead researcher Professor Miguel Nicolelis from the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina believes this development will be replicated with humans in the near future. "We cannot even predict what kinds of emergent properties would appear when animals begin interacting as part of a brain-net. In theory, you could imagine that a combination of brains could provide solutions that individual brains cannot achieve by themselves. One animal might even incorporate another's sense of self", he told CNN.
Professor Nicolelis revealed earlier this month that he had given laboratory rats a “sixth sense” by connecting up their nervous systems to a sensor that can detect infrared light, which is normally invisible to rats as well as humans. The study published in the scientific report focussed on using the electrical signals detected in a region of the rat’s brain involved in making decisions when trained to respond to certain stimuli, such as a light in their cage.
On the other hand, Prof Christopher James, an expert in neural engineering at the University of Warwick who uses non-invasive techniques in his own research, explained BBC that it is currently not possible to put information into a brain using just the surface of the scalp.
"If you want to get information into the brain, then putting electrodes right at the brain sites is the way to do it. However, it's clearly very invasive," said Prof James. He added that the invasive nature of the research raised ethical questions: "It's very, very interesting isn't it? Because in humans you'd obviously get informed consent in doing this".
Prof James agreed with the scientific paper on the ground that it basically shows a possible way to take information out of the brain, and to take information and pump it into the brain. "What this (scientific report) shows is that the technology is here. And the sort of things we should be talking about is: Why are we doing this, and what do we hope to get out of it?", he said.
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