With Brain-To-Brain Connection, A Human Wags A Rat’s Tail

Controlling another living animal with just your brain. It's a little bit scary!

In a world’s first, a researcher was able to create a brain-to-brain interface with an animal of another species, and issue commands with only his mind. Could this be the first step towards some kind of horrible dark sci-fi world of telepathic commands? Probably.

In an article published in PLoS One, researchers created what’s known as a BBI, or a brain-to-brain interface. The aim was to do this non-invasively, so on the human side, the tester wore an EEG monitor (not unlike the Necomimi Cat Ears or this brainwave sensor we saw yesterday). But the other brain didn’t belong to another human: instead, it was a rat.

When the human tester looked at a strobe light, that triggered an EEG response–EEGs are kind of unreliable by themselves, so a strobe is a good way to get an EEG response every time–which was sent over to the rat. That response then triggers the delivery of an ultrasound frequency to the rat’s brain’s motor center. And it worked! The human could reliably, with about 94-percent accuracy, make the rat’s tail move with only his mind.

Brain-to-brain interfaces have a lot of potential for the future; there’s the possibility of sharing thoughts rather than just physical commands, of networking our brains into one unit with one commander. It’s kind of terrifying, really!