Recent developments in Brain-Machine Interfaces

  • In February researchers  electronically linked the brains of pairs of rats, enabling them to communicate directly to solve simple behavioral puzzles. They then linked two animals thousands of miles apart one in Durham, North Carolina and one in Natal, Brazil.  The achievement may enable in the future the linking of multiple brains to form what the researchers are calling the first “organic computer” which may allow sharing of motor and sensory information among groups of animals.
  • Now researchers from the U.S and South Korea have have taken it a step further: a non-invasive functional link … and between the brains of different species (human and rat) — a brain-to-brain interface (BBI). The researchers — at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. — set up a system intended to allow a human to remotely make a rat’s tail flick. There was to be no direct connections between human and rat, and no direct connections to their brains (such as the implantable cortical microelectrode arrays, like those used in the Duke research and in BCI systems for quadriplegic patients, such as BrainGate).
  • Japanese researchers claim to be able to tell what your’re dreaming about by analysing magnetic resonance imager (MRI) scans. Researchers at Kyoto’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories published their breakthrough findings in Science magazine in a paper titled Neural Decoding of Visual Imagery During Sleep.
  • For the first time implanted electrodes into the nerves and muscles of an amputee have allowed direct control of an osseointegrated prosthetic arm.
  • A team of computer scientists and security specialists from the UC Berkeley School of Information is exploring the feasibility of brainwave-based computer authentication as a replacement for passwords.

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