Two researchers from the University of Washington completed an experiment where one of them used his mind to cause involuntary movement in the other.
Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco were stationed in different laboratories across the UW campus, but were each wired in order to read and transmit brain signals from Rao to Stocco. Using neuroscience and Internet technology, the experiment aimed for a non-invasive connection between the two human brains as mediated by the Internet.
Rao, the ‘sender’ of brain signals, was hooked up to an electroencephalograph (EEG) that recorded his brain patterns, while Stocco, the ‘receiver,’ wore what appeared like a simple shower cap. This cap, however, contained a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil in order to activate neurons that influence his muscle movement.
The sender was assigned to ‘play’ a video game only with his mind. This meant he had to imagine the responses to the actions taking place in the game without actually moving his own hands.
The signal from his brain every time he needed to ‘fire’ a cannon was being transmitted online to the receiver who, in contrast, remained insulated from noise and images in the other lab. The receiver quietly waited with his right hand resting on a keyboard.
Once the sender signaled ‘fire’ with the control of his mind, his command prompted the receiver to twitch involuntarily to hit the same ‘fire’ button the sender had imagined hitting.
The movement was akin to a ‘nervous tic,’ Stocco described.
Two researchers from the University of Washington completed an experiment where one of them used his mind to cause involuntary movement in the other. [Credit: Morguefile]
Rao, on the other hand, found the experiment both ‘exciting and eerie’ as he witnessed his imagined action translated into actual action by another human brain. He maintains, however, that the experiment could only make sense of ‘simple’ brain signals for now and that this type of mind control was limited to physical actions and does not include controlling another person’s thoughts.