Scientists enable rats to `talk` through brain link

Last Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 - 15:27

London: Telepathy just around the corner? Researchers have allowed rats thousands of miles apart to communicate with each other by connecting their brains through cables.

Scientists wired the brains of two rats together and show that signals from one rat`s brain can help the second rat solve a problem it would otherwise have no clue how to solve.

The wired brain implants allowed sensory and motor signals to be sent from one rat to another, creating the first ever brain-to-brain interface, `BBC News` reported.

Scientists then tested whether the rat receiving the signal could correctly interpret the information.

The team even linked the brains of rats that were thousands of miles apart as the ultimate test of their system.

Professor Miguel Nicolelis and his team at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina built on their previous work with brain-machine interfaces.

In earlier study, the researchers implanted electrodes in the part of the rat`s brain that processes tactile information and attached these to infrared sensors - effectively allowing the rat to "touch" infrared light.

During the latest study, the scientists wanted to test whether the systems they had developed could be used to establish a new artificial communication channel between animals.

"Until recently we used to record this brain activity and send it to a computer... And the (computer) tells us what the animal is going to do," Nicolelis said.

"So we reasoned, if we can do that with a computer, could another brain do that?" Nicolelis said.

Placed in separate cages, the rats were able to solve puzzles with the aid of micro-electrodes one hundredth the diameter of a human hair implanted into their brains.

One rat was able to interpret the other`s actions and intentions even when they couldn`t see or hear each other.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 - 15:27

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