(CBS Local) — Tired of texting or calling your family, friends and colleagues? Why not just beam your thoughts directly into their brain.
An experimental brain-to-brain “social network” could be the next big thing. The new system, called BrainNet, uses modern brain scanning tools to allow people to essentially communicate telepathically.
There have been experiments in direct brain-to-brain communication before. But in a paper posted last week, researchers from the University of Washington detailed a new example of this technology using three people for the first time.
BrainNet uses electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors to “read” thoughts in people’s heads and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to transmit simple signals into people’s heads.
In the experiment, researchers used groups of three people — two “senders” transmitted answers in a Tetris-style game by staring at flashing LEDs, which made their brains emit particular signals. A third player was able to “receive” their answers and play the game.
One of the senders would purposely send the wrong instruction so that the receiver would have to figure out which sender to trust.
The researchers believe BrainNet could one day be used to allow groups of people to work together to solve problems.
“We found that receivers are able to learn which sender is more reliable based solely on the information transmitted to their brains,” the researchers said.
“Our results raise the possibility of future brain-to-brain interfaces that enable cooperative problem solving by humans using a ‘social network’ of connected brains.”