Reading the mind is typically considered an ability limited to the realm of science fiction and comic book heroes. But a new “telepathy” experiment showed that the mind reading of Professor Xavier from X-Men might be possible in the future based upon technology.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, it’s said that men often think women expect them to be mind readers, but a study byGerman researchers found men had twice as much trouble reading and understanding the subtle emotions reflected in women than they did in men when looking into their eyes. Brain scans reflected a lack of brain activity within the the empathy network of the amygdala, a region associated with distinguishing emotion.
The research on the mind reading experiment was recently published in PLOS ONE and showed how two people could potentially connect their minds even while 5,000 miles apart. Giulio Ruffini, a theoretical physicist and co-author of the research, said, “It is kind of technological realization of the dream of telepathy, but it is definitely not magical. We are using technology to interact electromagnetically with the brain.”
Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, explains how they conceived the idea for this experiment.
“We wanted to find out if one could communicate directly between two people by reading out the brain activity from one person and injecting brain activity into the second person, and do so across great physical distances by leveraging existing communication pathways. One such pathway is, of course, the internet, so our question became, ‘Could we develop an experiment that would bypass the talking or typing part of internet and establish direct brain-to-brain communication between subjects located far away from each other in India and France?'”
In order to answer that question, they used a combination of internet-linked electroencephalogram (EEG) and robot-assisted and image-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technologies. Previous studies on EEG-based brain-computer interaction (BCI) focused on allowing humans to communicate with a computer and focused on deriving how actions from thought in order make robotic arms or a wheelchair move.
The biggest achievement was that the communication was achieved with non-invasive brain stimulation that did not require drilling into anyone’s scalp. The electrical readings from the brain were interpreted by a computer program to mean “hola” and “ciao” and then sent via email. The humans on the other end of the experiment received the message as flashes of light in their peripheral vision, which allowed the receivers to decode the messages. While not exactly Professor X, the error rate on such a simple message was only five percent on the sending side, and 11 percent on the receiving side.
“By using advanced precision neuro-technologies including wireless EEG and robotized TMS, we were able to directly and noninvasively transmit a thought from one person to another, without them having to speak or write,” says Pascual-Leone. “This in itself is a remarkable step in human communication, but being able to do so across a distance of thousands of miles is a critically important proof-of-principle for the development of brain-to-brain communications. We believe these experiments represent an important first step in exploring the feasibility of complementing or bypassing traditional language-based or motor-based communication.”
While this technology is fairly crude at the moment, it’s possible it could be expanded greatly over time. One Asian company has already successfully demonstrated it’s possible to send networking data over the human skin, and there’s been talk of creating smart devices embedded into tattoos that run off the electricity naturally generated by the human body. If all of these technologies were combined with short range wireless communications, it’s possible humans could be “talking” to each other silently not too far off into the future.
If mind reading technology ever reaches the point of full telepathy, would you want to have it installed onto your body?