Scientists create brain-to-brain interface in experiment with rats
New York - Neuroscientists reported Thursday that they created a brain-to-brain electronic link between two rats and showed that there was direct and real time communication via the link.
Miguel Nicolelis, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical Center, and his team put micro-electrodes on corresponding parts of the rats’ brains and attached the electronic link. They then sent electronic simulations of the brain activity of the first rat - the encoder - via the link to the micro-electrode in the brain of the other rat - the decoder - who was in an entirely different cage.
The results, published at nature.com, showed that the rat receiving the information was able to process it.
In the experiment, the encoder rat learned what button to push to get food. This brain activity pattern was then transmitted to the decoder rat and it was able to replicate the task without the visual cue with a maximum 70 per cent success rate.
"These experiments showed that we have established a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern recognition device," Nicolelis said in a statement. "So basically, we are creating what I call an organic computer." When the second rat failed to execute the task, the feedback sent to the first rat led to it creating clearer and more decisive brain patterns, which shows that the brains communicated to better solve problems.//DPA