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Scientists linked the brains of 2 living rats through network in real time [Biology]
posted March 6 2013 19:56.09 by Giorgos Lazaridis

This may be the beginning of a whole new era in which people will be able to actually wire their brains into a system and... upload knowledge or experience, or how to fly a helicopter like Trinity. The experiment was conducted between two experiment centers, one in America and one in Brazil! Two rats were used for this experiment. The first rat was trained first to respond into a certain stimulation to select the proper lever among two. Whenever the rat chose the correct lever, it was rewarded with a small amount of water. The rat shortly achieved a 95% success. Then, special electrodes were implanted into the brain of this rat (which was called the encoder) and another rat (called the decoder). The rats were eventually linked through the network together.

The results were amazing! Whenever the trained rat made a choice, its brain activity was transferred to the decoder rat which followed the same pattern! The decoder rat was not trained like the first rat! Two thirds of the times the behavior of the rats was identical! The encoder rat was rewarded with extra drops of water whenever the decoder had received the proper pattern.

A brain-to-brain interface (BTBI) enabled a real-time transfer of behaviorally meaningful sensorimotor information between the brains of two rats. In this BTBI, an 1Cencoder 1D rat performed sensorimotor tasks that required it to select from two choices of tactile or visual stimuli. While the encoder rat performed the task, samples of its cortical activity were transmitted to matching cortical areas of a 1Cdecoder 1D rat using intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). The decoder rat learned to make similar behavioral selections, guided solely by the information provided by the encoder rat's brain. These results demonstrated that a complex system was formed by coupling the animals' brains, suggesting that BTBIs can enable dyads or networks of animal's brains to exchange, process, and store information and, hence, serve as the basis for studies of novel types of social interaction and for biological computing devices.

[Link: nature.com]

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