Tech Outlets Include Direct Brain Communication in 'Best of 2015'

Research on brain-to-brain communication, which is led in part by I-LABS scientists, has been named by the technology media outlets as one of the top stories of the year.

Photo caption: UW graduate student Jose Ceballos wears an electroencephalography (EEG) cap that records brain activity and sends a response to a second participant over the Internet.

Andrea Stocco and Chantel Prat, of I-LABS, along with UW computer scientist Rajesh Rao published a study this fall in PLOS ONE showing for the first time that two human brains can be linked together to exchange information. In the experiment, participants were able to guess what was on the mind of another just through brain signals transmitted through the internet.

The study received substantial media coverage when it came out in September, and now is getting media attention in year-end stories.

CNET, a world leader in reporting consumer technology breakthroughs, included the study in its "best science stories of 2015.

At the top of GeekWire's list of the "biggest sensations" from science labs of the year, the news outlet named the brain-to-brain experiment.

Along with a version of the Hoverboard, Gizmodo listed the 20 questions brain-to-brain experiment in their story "The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2015."

"The future of talking is mostly thinking," wrote Inverse in a recent feature on the UW brain-to-brain study. Inverse, a news outlet that specializes in emerging ideas and new technology, goes on to speculate possible uses for brain-to-brain communication: Have a plumber do emergency repair work through your body, connect to a paramedic so you can provide immediate help to a loved one, or just impress your friends with a perfect rendition of Chopin played by you through a remote professional pianist.  

While all those possibilities sound fun, the UW researchers are focusing more on developing the brain-to-brain technology as a "brain tutoring" protocol in which a healthy brain could repair functions in a damaged one or, in academic settings, where a teacher could directly transfer knowledge to a student.

Learn more and watch a video of the study in university news release.
Read the research paper in PLOS ONE.