Life imitates "Fringe" with development of brain-to-brain interface

Scientists managed to link the brains of a conscious human and an anesthetized rat, allowing the human to wiggle the rat's tail with his thoughts. And all God's creatures said, "Holy shitballs!"


    1. before I looked at the paycheck which was of $9226, I didn’t believe that…my… best friend woz like they say realey earning money in their spare time from there computar.. there moms best frend had bean doing this 4 less than 19 months and just now paid the morgage on there condo and purchased themselves a Lotus Elan. this is where I went, fab22.comCHECK IT OUT

    2. Hey Bradley – I think that Amber Collier down here has one of those rat brain interfaces.  Grammar would seem to indicate it, at least.

        1. Obviously they’re still working on the spill through for the buffers.  Pretty impressive rat, though.

  1. I have a really fun idea that requires one of these interfaces and some rhinoceros tranquilizers.

    1. With my girlfriend still somewhat in shock after our last visit to the zoo…feel no need to elaborate.

  2. I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the machine – just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake, and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my dreams the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my consciousness. Dark. Rigid. Cold. Alien. Evolution is at work here, but just what is evolving remains to be seen.

    Commissioner Pravin Lal, “Man and Machine”

    1. I need to play that game again.  Alpha Centauri was the greatest Civ game ever.  Even the newest civilization games don’t even come close to that masterpiece.

      1. “Alpha Centauri was the greatest game ever.”


        I am looking forward to though.

        1. I’m looking forward to a new Torment too.  I don’t even need porn anymore.  I just fire up their kickstarter video.

  3. Hmmm teleoperated rodents. I am reminded of the article a few years ago when researchers extracted images from the visual system of a cat, and also, of research into bionic eyes for humans.

  4. Meh.  This is a gimmick.  If you read the paper you can see they did exactly nothing new.  The ability to read vague stuff from a human brain has been around for a while.  The ability to stimulate a rat to move something has also been around for a while.  Alls that they did was have a computer sitting in the middle that triggered one off the other.  Human thinks in a certain way, computer sees the random signal it was looking for and then sends a separate and completely unrelated signal a device that tells the rat’s tail to move.

    This experiment would be a bit like me telling a runner to go tell a basketball player to shoot a ball into the hoop, and then claiming that I scored a basket using the power of my voice. Yes, technically my voice triggered a dude to go and run and tell a basketball player to throw a ball, but the statement implies that my voice alone lofted the ball into the air.  Ditto for this.  No signal passed from a human to a rat.

      1. It isn’t even evolutionary.  There is literally nothing new here.  They just took three old pieces of technology and setup it up so that it looks like it is doing something it isn’t.  

        Give me a few thousand bucks and I could literally do this with myself and one of my friends.  The first piece of technology is EEG equipment is off the shelf and costs nothing these days.  The second piece of technology is triggering the rat.  Triggering the rat is a little bit harder and beyond my immediate knowhow, but I have a friend that chops open rat brains on a regular basis (neuroscientist) that could do it with some slightly more expensive equipment.  The third piece of technology is a boring old desktop running a boring old script that just tells the rat manipulating program to fire when the EEG program reports it has a match.  

        Replace the rat with a light switch, vibrator, or a rube goldberg machine that executes the rat and I can do it myself without anyones help.

        Gimmick.  Gimmick.  Gimmick.  It is a cute gimmick that demonstrates how to use decade(s?) old technology to fake a mind to mind interface, but a faking is all it is.  It is like having a headline declare a car crossed the entire US on only one tank of gas, implying incredible fuel efficiency when what you really did was slap it in an airplane and drop it off on the other coast.

    1. Exactly, this isn’t really a brain-to-brain interface. It’s just using a signal from a human brain detected by an EEG to trigger another device that sends an ultrasound pulse to trigger a motor response in a rat. 

      1. Except, according to the definition of ‘interface’, that’s *exactly* what it is. It’s not connecting human neurons to rat neurons directly, it’s converting between a pre-determined human brain state and a pre-determined rat brain state.

        It’s still not a revolutionary technique, of course – just an application of existing technologies. It will be more interesting when/if bidirectional conversion is achieved.

    2. Human thinks in a certain way, computer sees the random signal it was looking for and then sends a separate and completely unrelated signal a device that tells the rat’s tail to move.

      Uh, no… That’s not how cerebral cortexes work. The signal is far from random.

      Rats have pairs of neurological structures which map directly to their physiognomy (in human beings the effector and receptor structures are called homunculi. In rats it would be called ratuculi.)

      Although the mapping between rat and human wouldn’t seem that direct, we and they have the same number of limbs and the same sensory organs so an approximate mapping can be made.

      Its not proprioperception as that is purely internal, but it is interfering with (or more properly comandeering,) the animal’s’ proprioeffectors.

      1. Let me rephrase as you seemed to have missed the point.  I did not mean to imply that the signal was random.  It was arbitrary.  Think a certain way and you get a certain signal.  They could have had the rat tail flick every time he thought about tits or or ice cream.  The point is that the EEG was looking for a particular prearranged arbitrary signal.  When it found that signal, it sent a command to a completely unrelated device to fire another arbitrary signal at the rat.  In this case, the signal was aimed at a spot to move the tail.  

        There was no impulse that went from human to rat.  There was an impulse that went from human to machine.  Machine fired a script when it found the signal it was looking for to.  That script told another unrelated machine to fire a signal to make the rat lift its tail.

        I’m telling you that no impulse went from man to rat.  An impulse went from man to machine.  After getting a signal from the man, the machine spit another unrelated signal to the rat, telling it to move its tail.  The machine could have just as easily turned on a light switch when a guy thought about boobs.  It could also have just as easily twitched the tail whenever someone posted to a twitter feed YOLO.

        This isn’t a mind to mind interface.  It is a mind to machine interface attached to a machine to machine interface, attached to a machine to mind interface.

    3. From the article: “Then, by using a computer as an interface between the two, a fairly straightforward mind-to-mind link was established.”

      I read it on the internets. It must be true.

  5. News Reporter: Can you explain to our audience how you used your mind to wiggle the tail of an anesthetized rat?

    Scientist/explorer: It is a simple procedure wherein I focus my mental energy on the process of extending my presence and then with great effort I will the rats tiny body part to move through rapid but precise signaling to the involved musculature.

    News Reporter: You reach out and flick it?

    Scientist/explorer: Essentially, yes.

  6. Correction: the scientist who performed this experiment, who wishes to remain nameless due to some recent confusion involving a small amount of plutonium, says the reaction by the first witness (other than his holographic assistant) was “Holy shitsnacks!”, not “shitballs” as recorded.  

  7. I’m pretty sure that while watching that video I was subconsciously programmed to commit an assassination when I hear a secret code word.

    1. “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. Remember. Miles to go before I sleep.”

  8. It’ll be a fine day when science reporters no longer feel the need to decorate already-fascinating stories with barely-relevant pop-culture references.

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