Networked animal brains power advanced brain-machine interface


Once upon a time, brain-machine interfaces allowed humans or animals to control simple computer applications or machines by reading brain signals. Now, a team of researchers has proved these interfaces are capable of so much more. By networking a group of animal brains, scientists discovered they were able to successfully complete tasks together that would prove too difficult for just one.

Miguel Nicolelis, a professor of neurobiology and biomedical engineering at Duke University, and the rest of his team published two studies summarizing the behaviors of rats and monkeys during the experiments.

consciousPotential applications for the technological advancements include: Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality, surgery, telepathic thought in place of language, and collective control over machines.

If this reminds you of something out of science fiction, that’s because it is something out of science fiction. The “Borg” of popular TV franchise Star Trek are a race of cybernetic organisms that assimilate other species into the “collective” in order to better themselves. They communicate through a hive mind, essentially just an example of the enormously networked brain-machine interfaces we might one day create. It’s an “all are one, one is all” sort of concept.

Masdar scientists are excited about the future of brain-machine interfaces

Iyad Rahwan of the Masdar Institute in Dubai suggested that the work could one day change how human beings function in tight-knit groups.

Rahwan is not associated with this particular research project, but it seems Masdar is at the forefront of many new ground-breaking studies. The city itself was constructed to run entirely on renewable energy. Keep in mind that Masdar is situated right next to Abu Dhabi, a city known for its reliance on fossil fuels.

Even more shocking is the city’s lack of even a single road above ground. If you need to get around, then you either walk the distance, or descend below ground where you’ll find a fleet of automated vehicles ready to shuttle you anywhere within the confines of Masdar. 

In any case, let us know what you think of the advancements in brain-machine interfaces. Are you concerned that this research could lead to psychological problems for future participants? Does “mind-melding” have any practical applications?

About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.

1 Comment

    Syren Akopov on

    Made a very important ( revolutionary and unpublished ) discovery – invention-the1.first practical device for reading human thoughts / human mind reading machine / Brain Computer Interface. In particular, I have created a means for people with Locked – in Syndrome ( LiS ) and ALS ( such as British physicist Stephen Hawking or Steve Gleason problem ). Discovery is not published. I invite partnership. Thank you. Сурен Акопов. ( Syren Akopov ). About the problem look for example in You Tube :
    1.Jack Gallant, human mind reading machine;
    2.John – Dylan Haynes, human mind reading machine;
    3.Tom Mitchell and Marcel Just, human mind reading machine.