Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies

#1
Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies
Carles Grau, Romuald Ginhoux, Alejandro Riera, Thanh Lam Nguyen, Hubert Chauvat,Michel Berg, Julià L. Amengual, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Giulio Ruffin

Abstract
Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction). Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface. In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalographic (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues. Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.

At http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225 (free access)
 
#2
Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies
Carles Grau, Romuald Ginhoux, Alejandro Riera, Thanh Lam Nguyen, Hubert Chauvat,Michel Berg, Julià L. Amengual, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Giulio Ruffin

Abstract
Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction). Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface. In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalographic (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues. Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.

At http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225 (free access)
The article starts out with a sparse, but significant definition of mind, referencing E. Kandel. I found this same idea in Kandel's popular book about his career and his work in the scientific community. In this simple view; "by “mind” we mean a set of processes carried out by the brain".

It "feels' like the definition for an algorithm, at a separate level of abstraction.

Indeed, we may use the term mind-to-mind transmission here as opposed to brain-to-brain, because both the origin and the destination of the communication involved the conscious activity of the subjects.
I would also suggest that mind is involved it appears that "meaning" is being transferred, rather than symbols to be decoded.
 
#3
Since you two guys seem to understand what this whole thing was about - help me out here. What data did they actually transfer at those b2b-communications? Electromagnetic signals, "recorded" from brainwaves? So, electric brain signals? I mean, they are writing about a conscious communication, but dont they just transfer signals to the other brain? Conscious communication wouldnt be wrong there since the sender would have done it consciously i guess by creating brainwaves/signal via brain activity (and brain activity is to be expected as long as the person is alive). I didnt really get if the other brain could "translate" those signals into something meaningful too; did he/she do that or did the reciever just, well, recieve the signals and thats it?. Either way, a pretty interesting topic.
 
#4
Since you two guys seem to understand what this whole thing was about - help me out here. What data did they actually transfer at those b2b-communications? Electromagnetic signals, "recorded" from brainwaves? So, electric brain signals? I mean, they are writing about a conscious communication, but dont they just transfer signals to the other brain? Conscious communication wouldnt be wrong there since the sender would have done it consciously i guess by creating brainwaves/signal via brain activity (and brain activity is to be expected as long as the person is alive). I didnt really get if the other brain could "translate" those signals into something meaningful too; did he/she do that or did the reciever just, well, recieve the signals and thats it?. Either way, a pretty interesting topic.
nvm, i had some time to study some parts of the paper. as much as i understand one person created a 0 or 1 signal with the movement of his arms/legs and a bci. 3 others recieved those signals via internet. the signal got converted to a light impulse of some sorts which is "inserted" right where you would normally expect perceptional input. The people that acted as recievers communicated theeir subjective results via verbal communication. Something like that i assume.
 
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