Researchers at the University of Washington have successfully used a direct brain-to-brain connection to let people play twenty questions from over a mile away.
This is the most complex brain-to-brain experiment, I think, that’s been done to date in humans, it uses conscious experiences through signals that are experienced visually, and it requires two people to collaborate,” says lead author Andrea Stocco, an assistant professor of psychology and a researcher at University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.
How it Works?
The first participant or “responder” is connected to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine, the EEG machine records the responders electrical activity. The responder is shown an object on a computer screen (e.g. a dog). The second participant or “inquisitor” is shown a list of possible objects and associated questions, the inquisitor sends questions back to the responder via the internet. The responder than answers the inquisitors questions, either yes or no, by looking at flashing LED’s. The LED’s flash at different frequencies, to help differentiate between yes and no answers.
Both yes and no answers are sent back to the inquisitor, however, only yes answers activate a magnetic coil that is placed behind the inquisitors head. The yes answer stimulates the visual cortex and lets the inquisitor see a flash of light. This back and forth game of twenty questions allows the inquisitor to correctly identify the object.
Participants where able to correctly guess the object 72% of the time. The most likely causes for error where whether or not the inquisitor saw the flash when a yes answer stimulated the visual cortex or hardware issues as well as human error.