This kind of two-way brain communication between humans has yet to be demonstrated. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible.
For now, the University of Washington scientists can show off their technique using simple brain signals, but their technology doesn't allow people to read each other's thoughts.
And don't worry -- it was done in a laboratory setting in accordance with a strict human-testing protocol, so it would not be used to control people's behavior without their consent, they say.
The technology is still in its early stages, but Stocco imagines many practical applications: For instance, a senior surgeon could control the hands of another surgeon in training during an operation. Stocco also told the University of Washington's news office that a person with disabilities could signal that he or she would like food or water, or a pilot who becomes incapacitated could be assisted from the ground.
"It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain," Rao told the University of Washington's news office. "This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains."
The researchers said they intend to conduct another experiment involving more complex information from one brain to another. They will try the technique on more people if that is successful, and if approved by the ethics board.
If they can pump up the technology to do what Nicolelis has demonstrated in rats, this would be, quite literally, a meeting of minds.
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