Over the past two years, there have been several studies that reported on direct transmission of brain activity between two animals, between two humans, and even between a human and a rat. Known as “brain-to-brain interfaces” (BBI), this technology allows for direct transmission of brain activity by connecting the brains of two individuals.
Supporting BBIs is the way brain cells communicate with each other – a process known as synaptic transmission, where chemical signals are passed between cells resulting in electrical spikes in the receiving cell.
Synaptic transmission creates the foundation of all brain activity such as motor control, memory, perception, and emotion. With cells connected in a network, brain activity generates a synchronized pulse of electrical activity called “brain wave”.
Further, brain waves change reflecting the cognitive processes currently performed in the brain, and have time-frequency patterns with up and down states.
To detect brainwaves, doctors use a technique known as electroencephalography (EEG), and the electrical patterns can be recorded and interpreted using computer software.
Not only electrical signals in the brain can be sent, but also received using a non-invasive technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Scientists determined that BBIs can work between humans by combining EEG and TMS, and transmitted the thought of moving a hand from one person to a separate individual, who actually moved their hand. The BBI works best when both participants are conscious cooperators in the experiment. In this case, the subjects were engaged in a computer game.
The latest advance in human BBIs represents another leap forward. This is where transmission of conscious thought was achieved between two human beings in August last year.
A combination of such technologies, including EEG, the Internet and TMS, were used to transmit a thought from India to France.