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Computer-Aided ESP Transmits Binary Numbers, Slowly

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the can't-be-sensory-and-extra-sensory dept.

Science 148

High-C writes "Dr. Christopher James of the University of Southampton has demonstrated what is being termed 'Brain to Brain' communication. In binary, no less. In essence, one person imagined a binary number, which was picked up by an EEG and transmitted via the net to another PC. The received signal was displayed on LEDs flashing at two different frequencies. The receiver's EEG correctly deciphered the string, resulting in a 1:1 transmission of binary data via thought. The throughput isn't great so far, at .14 bits per second, but it's an incredibly geeky proof-of-concept all the same."

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NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706009)

There's a friggin LED in the middle.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706055)

It sounds like the receiving guy in essence is just being used as a fancy optical sensor, making him more a relay than a receiver.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706113)

I see fine people who happen to be black who can take care of themselves and their children without being a burden on the community and without creating a high-crime ghetto. I don't see them as being fundamentally that different from me, just a different color. Then I see these thug-wannabes with their shitty chip-on-shoulder attitudes who love and glorify violence, abuse of women, drug use, and as youths tell other kids that studying and learning and trying to get ahead in the world is "acting white" and discourage them from doing it. Then I see that when they are athletes or entertainers no one seems to care that they're basically pieces of shit as human beings, as long as they put on a good show, and of course you're a racist if you reject their culture of self-destruction. So I say fuck it, they're a bunch of jungle bunnies and have begged for any racism they experience, and the otherwise respectable blacks who aren't trying to convince their more primitive fellows that how they are living is unacceptable are little better, just like the many millions of peaceful Muslims who refuse to condemn the radical violent version of Islam.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706159)

Did you notice a sign out in front that said, "Dead nigger storage"?
Answer the question! Did you see a sign out in front of my house that said "Dead nigger storage"?
You know why you didn't see that sign?
Cause it ain't there, 'cause storing dead niggers ain't my fucking business, that's why!

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29706305)

It sounds like the receiving guy in essence is just being used as a fancy optical sensor, making him more a relay than a receiver.

Maybe you just described unassisted ESP.

I wonder if these guys have a claim to win the Amazing Randi's bogus prize.

This is the same technology... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706167)

Capt Christopher Pike used to communicate.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 years ago | (#29706287)

Sombody is failing to understand the "Extra Sensory" part of "ESP", ie. you're not allowed to use any of the five senses.

Besides ... if you have a radio link then why not just give them bluetooth headsets and let them talk to each other?

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29707823)

Sombody is failing to understand the "Extra Sensory" part of "ESP", ie. you're not allowed to use any of the five senses.

"extrasensory (ekstr sens r) - occurring or seeming to occur apart from, or in addition to, the normal function of the usual senses extrasensory perception"

If you don't know what you're talking about then just keep your fucking mouth shut. I really hate people like yourself that spout bullshit with smug authority.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | about 5 years ago | (#29708019)

Besides ... if you have a radio link then why not just give them bluetooth headsets and let them talk to each other?

Probably for the same reason the various military organisations have hand signals to indicate certain things. And to be entirely fair, sometimes I just want to say things to my wife when we are surrounded by people that I can't... because we are surrounded by people.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 years ago | (#29708273)

So ... get some secret hand signals together and talk to your wife with them.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

Mr. Vage (1084371) | about 5 years ago | (#29708449)

Besides ... if you have a radio link then why not just give them bluetooth headsets and let them talk to each other?

Because you won't need words when you can share thoughts.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 5 years ago | (#29706361)

There's a friggin LED in the middle.

Dude, what did you use to make that post, and what did I use to make this reply? I'm just curious... I mean, it's entirely possible you're a 7 line perl script. I have no way to prove it...

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 5 years ago | (#29706399)

Because your post doesn't look like line noise?

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (1)

BluBrick (1924) | about 5 years ago | (#29706695)

And my post doesn't look like me. Your point?

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706985)

I cant believe you amatuers expect that there will be a technology called ESP that can somehow link into a nonexistent sense perception that has no foundation, reciever or processing equipment in the brain. Either the sensory infrastructure is there (smell, touch, taste, sound, sight) and we utilise that, or we dont use B2B communication. This is not Star Trek. The idea of ESP is a fantasy, and we are trying to make a real approximation, not ESP is real and we are trying to understand it.

By which law of nature did you expect ESP would be channeled?

Furthermore, by definition, watching recorded video IS extra sensory. You were not there when the event occured, it was beyond your biological senses, and yet you witnessed the event.

I wish the net was a smarter place. I get so depressed by all the morons creating so much white noise. It is almost pointless using the net for intelligent discussion. Every 2bit moron wants to add his unintelligible opinion.

Re:NOT BRAIN TO BRAIN (2, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 5 years ago | (#29707231)

Every 2bit moron wants to add his unintelligible opinion.

Indeed.

Not ESP (1, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | about 5 years ago | (#29706015)

ESP stands for Extra Sensorial Experience, but this rig used equipment with electrical sensors. It's as much ESP as a radio that receives electromagnetic waves and plays the result in a loudspeaker.

Re:Not ESP (3, Informative)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29706049)

I think you meant Extrasensory Perception [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not ESP (1)

DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) | about 5 years ago | (#29706377)

More importantly, how can you call something extrasensory perception, when it involves the humans perceiving an LED signal, with their visual sense?
This is pretty silly.

Re:Not ESP (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29706613)

As a kid I always thought ESP stood for Extra Special Powers. My ability to touch my tongue to my nose counted of course.

Re:Not ESP (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 5 years ago | (#29706625)

So long as you don't try and touch your tongue to my nose, you can call it whatever you like ;)

Me too.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29707461)

When I was younger and more flexible I could touch my tongue to my ......

Re:Not ESP (1)

rachit (163465) | about 5 years ago | (#29708547)

You must be popular with the ladies then.

Useless. (1)

nawitus (1621237) | about 5 years ago | (#29706017)

Well, this is just useless. EEG has been used as input for decades.

Re:Useless. (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | about 5 years ago | (#29706123)

And on the output side I wouldn't call looking at an LED a mind-machine interface!

Re:Useless. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29706313)

And on the output side I wouldn't call looking at an LED a mind-machine interface!

Why not?

Re:Useless. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#29706925)

Probably for the same reason he wouldn't call looking at an LCD monitor a mind-machine interface.
Although strictly speaking, it certainly is (the screen content is generated by the machine, and interpreted by the mind).

Re:Useless. (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 5 years ago | (#29706201)

Well, this is just useless. EEG has been used as input for decades.

Yeah, but the concept is good. Just think, maybe some day instead of having to listen to mindless cell phone yakking on the subway, people will carry on their conversations silently in their heads.

It's going to make administering tests a lot harder though, when anyone can Google any answer without moving a muscle.

Re:Useless. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 5 years ago | (#29706259)

>>Yeah, but the concept is good. Just think, maybe some day instead of having to listen to mindless cell phone yakking on the subway, people will carry on their conversations silently in their heads.

At .14 bps, people had better get able to do Huffman encoding in their heads real fast.

Re:Useless. (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29706323)

At .14 bps, people had better get able to do Huffman encoding in their heads real fast.

Because god knows new technological applications never get any faster than they do at conception.

Re:Useless. (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 5 years ago | (#29706379)

>>Because god knows new technological applications never get any faster than they do at conception.

God also knows that technologies making little LED lights blink will probably never be able to sustain a real time voice communication.

Re:Useless. (4, Insightful)

soren202 (1477905) | about 5 years ago | (#29706461)

God also knows that new technology never stretches beyond it's original setup as it matures in age.

Re:Useless. (3, Funny)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 5 years ago | (#29707567)

It seems God knows a lot about this technology.

Re:Useless. (1)

CSFFlame (761318) | about 5 years ago | (#29706585)

Yeah, I mean, voice across Fiber Optics? Madness.

blinking-light communicators? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 years ago | (#29707763)

Forrest M. Mims III built one in 1975! From Radio Shack catalog parts!

(But probably not in a cave.)

Re:Useless. (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 5 years ago | (#29706263)

It's going to make administering tests a lot harder though, when anyone can Google any answer without moving a muscle.

And those tests will be useless. However, I believe that people will find a way to make better tests (say, ones that actually test the ability to solve problems rather than just the ability to memorize data. Because if you can google the answer any time then there is no point in memorizing it.

Re:Useless. (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | about 5 years ago | (#29706741)

The technology-inclined will go to #math, #physics, etc., at least until they catch on...

Re:Useless. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 5 years ago | (#29706275)

It's going to make administering tests a lot harder though, when anyone can Google any answer without moving a muscle.

But in a world where it is that easy to Google, does it make sense to test knowledge that can be Googled?

Re:Useless. (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | about 5 years ago | (#29706709)

Exactly... in my opinion, the point of learning is to learn how to learn, not to learn the subject matter. Culture, yes, teach that, but beyond that, teach how to find and assimilate information. Learning by memorization is just pointless time wasting.

Re:Useless. (1)

dumuzi (1497471) | about 5 years ago | (#29708531)

Albert Einstein said "I never commit to memory anything that can be easily looked up in a book", yet decades later we still have not caught up to that ideal in our schools. Students can Google any fact, can Wolfram any equation, can Wiki any question. Critical thinking and genuine problem solving, along with finding and assimilating information are the skills that matter today. Unfortunately those skills are too difficult to test on multiple choice standardized tests, so our system stays stuck in it's obsolete state. The teachers will continue to prepare students for the government exams by teaching to the test. Our schools have become a sorting mechanism (a poor one at that) and have lost nearly all traces of meaningful education.

Re:Useless. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#29706753)

It would test how good you are in googling the information (and in distinguishing good from bad information in the results).

Re:Useless. (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29706293)

Or it will just make that sort of test a great deal less relevant. Also, there are Faraday cages and jamming devices.

Not to rain on their parade.. (1)

dr.matrix (36588) | about 5 years ago | (#29706045)

..but from the way I understand TFA, the receiving person isn't even aware of the value of the received bit, it's only picked up subconsciously.

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29706081)

Yes... but suppose you could transmit a long string of these bits... maybe you could enter data into someone's subconcious memory, that they'd be unaware of?

You could then smuggle them overseas, say send them back to the US, and send them to a specialist to have the information "extracted" from their subconscious mind through hypnosis, or some other high-tech technique.

All without the person themselves having any clue what databits were stored in their brain

Seems like an ideal way of transferring things like intelligence, encryption keys, missile launch codes, securely.

What more secure place than a guard's brain?

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | about 5 years ago | (#29706107)

Lets not get carried away Professor Moriarty

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (3, Funny)

jim.hansson (1181963) | about 5 years ago | (#29706115)

looks like I was not the only one watching johnny mnemonic last night. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113481/ [imdb.com]

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (4, Funny)

harry666t (1062422) | about 5 years ago | (#29706303)

Why not just plain, old telepathy?

Many people have a tendency to overthink simple problems.

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (1)

Narpak (961733) | about 5 years ago | (#29706759)

Because telepathy have a tendency to make your head explode.

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29707035)

because telepathy is a non scientific concept with no basis in reality

Yeah, really! Telepathy's only drawback... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 years ago | (#29707781)

...is that it's slower than this technique, and by a mere .14 bps.

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (1)

mikael (484) | about 5 years ago | (#29706179)

Most real-world claimed cases of telepathy are usually subconscious (workers returning to a work site after having a hunch that one of their mates was trapped, or family members turning up spontanously to a house when somebody was unconscious or ill).

The use of a LED does detract from this experiment - they should have put person A under some kind of stress and monitored person B to see if their EEG recordings were different in some way.

Re:Not to rain on their parade.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706511)

Actually, telepathy has been tested in the lab. The experimental setup is called Ganzfeld [wikipedia.org] and it involves placing people under sensory deprivation. Of course the results are disputed, but the overall data are quite suggestive of extra-sensorial influence.

Future applications (2, Insightful)

Loomismeister (1589505) | about 5 years ago | (#29706051)

I give this 5 years before we start turning appliances on with our minds. MMM I want some coffee = BAM coffee starts being made!

Re:Future applications (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29706121)

How about mental slashdot comment submission. You hear voices of other commenters in your mind, and you think what you want to say, it automatically appears in the site, and echoes in other commenters' minds.

Just be careful not to think "first post"

Slashdotters tend to frown on that sort of thing.

Re:Future applications (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | about 5 years ago | (#29706157)

No thanks, then I'd be hearing crap like post #29706113, reading it is bad enough.

Re:Future applications (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29706191)

Don't worry, in this future, if your post gets modded to -1 troll, you turn into a real-life troll, and your reduced size brain is no longer capable of any coherent thought, thus you can't post.

And if you get modded down to -1 Offtopic, you spontaneously disintegrate, you cease to exist in this universe.

Downside, is if you get +5 Funny, your clothing suddenly changes into jester clothing..

Re:Future applications (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29706231)

How about mental slashdot comment submission. You hear voices of other commenters in your mind, and you think what you want to say, it automatically appears in the site, and echoes in other commenters' minds.

Just be careful not to think "first post"

Slashdotters tend to frown on that sort of thing.

That'd require a high degree of mental discipline, to the point of being able to control both the content of your thoughts and their timing. That kind of discipline is sorely lacking in the general population, unfortunately. The way I often put it is that most people do not govern their thoughts and view them as a tool like any other; instead, most people are governed by their thoughts and can hardly imagine experiencing life apart from them. I am mostly talking here about when you "think to yourself" in your native language, and the problem with that is that when you experience all of life this way, you lose much of your ability to directly apprehend new realizations and must instead to go through the proxy of symbolic language for everything you experience.

Most people have a constant and endless supply of somewhat random thoughts that continuously pop into and out of their heads and could hardly sustain complete mental silence (i.e. a form of meditation) for even a few seconds, let alone selectively shut out unwanted thoughts with ease to effortlessly emphasize any particular one. This wouldn't be such a problem for relatively simple controls like "move this mouse cursor to the place I am thinking of" but would be a big problem for anyone intending to mentally dictate sentences and paragraphs and complex lines of reasoning without having to constantly make corrections.

What interests me is whether machines that accept this kind of input would lead to this kind of mental discipline becoming more common, as most seem to find no adventure in exploring their capabilities and fine-tuning their minds and therefore would balk at the effort without some externally imposed reason. It's a shame it has to be that way, that many need to have a fire of some kind lit under their asses before they will challenge their own limits. However, I still imagine that a society of more effective and capable thinkers would be radically different from the one that we know today and could only be an improvement. It would definitely be better than the widespread ignorance (of learning how to learn) that, whether you believe they encourage it or not, is definitely politically convenient for the powers-that-be.

Re:Future applications (1)

siride (974284) | about 5 years ago | (#29706273)

The problem has already been solved by the brain. Although we have all sorts of thoughts going on all the time, we only act on a few of them.

Re:Future applications (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29706333)

The problem has already been solved by the brain. Although we have all sorts of thoughts going on all the time, we only act on a few of them.

You'll have the problem anew if you come up with machines that interpret mental activity. A mouse and keyboard, after all, need to be acted upon. A machine that takes brainwaves for input is an input device with no such constraints.

Re:Future applications (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#29706859)

Well, "being acted upon" is also the result of certain brainwaves: If those special brainwaves occur, they will be sent down the nerves to your muscles. So there are obviously controllable brainwaves. So it might be possible to control those brainwaves which are used for the communication device as well. The brain waves to interpret would probably have to be specially selected for that.

Indeed, the trick may be to ask the person: "Imagine that you explicitly send a thought to another person" and identify specific brain waves which occur only then. If that is possible, the device could identify your explicit wish to send, and ignore everything else.

Re:Future applications (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29707041)

The arm moving the mouse is "a machine that takes brainwaves for input."

A challenge... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29708227)

If you are able to sort through your thoughts, and only act on the reasonable ones. You have become a Zen master.

I dare you to monitor your thoughts for a full week, and take note, preferably in writing, what you are thinking, and what you are acting. What comes first you think? The thought, or the act?

You'll quickly realize how big an illusion your "control" really is. Mind is constantly seeking gratification and self-confirmation, otherwise it wouldn't exist! And that is our greatest fear, the truth, something in the direction as EInstein said it:

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

But Einstein, like every other genius like him, was open to other schools of thought, and studied all kinds of traditions with an open mind. Not like the dogmatism of science today which too prematurely dismiss what can't be logically proven.

Now after that, try different diets, and see what effect they have on your thoughts. But I doubt the focus is there in most everyone today, even for a day. But yogis in the past, and in the present, are able to to this and many things more (most of those things being mere tricks though).

Re:Future applications (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29706335)

So wait, you have trained yourself to be some sort of mental jagoff?

Re:Future applications (1)

zeropointburn (975618) | about 5 years ago | (#29707049)

What is sad is that so many people wouldn't even understand what you just said. Self-discipline is rare in modern times, exceedingly so when there is no external motivation. Internal mental discipline is both useful and rewarding, but nobody else is going to care. Yet.

Regarding the article, this is a thin wedge opening a path to much more interesting work. In this case their method relies on subconscious visual processing. Extra-sensory doesn't necessarily mean some mysterious sixth sense, just that information is received through channels other than the conscious senses. For example, some people are very good at reading the emotions of others via subtle facial and body language. Many such people are unaware of how this information comes to them and label it empathy or emotional telepathy. Naturals perceive this input as sudden insight or intuition with little or no conscious awareness of the process. Regardless, it is a learnable skill. Ask any good poker player.

It is unfortunate that the most common abilities of this type require a certain minimum of relevant sensory input. Tests designed to screen out all sensory influences will of course invalidate any claims based on such abilities. I'm not saying they are not falsifiable, just that a little more understanding of the underlying processes is needed in order to design appropriate experiments.

Why prove everything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29708357)

Maybe not everything is needed to be proven by science. When you die, you will easily experience yourself, or if you have an out of body experience, you will know that mind and body are two separate units - which have been connected while we live. But mind lives on, with its karma (actions) here on earth, and will in time attract new bodies and experiences, to accomodate further evolution..

Mind can easily have sensory experience without the body, but it either requires extreme fatigue / near death, or a trained and relaxed mind, like a yogi. The thing is, we are usually so wrapped up in thoughts and "worldly affairs". Since we have no chance to "think" ourselves out of our body (not that it's necessarily a goal in itself to have such experiences either..), we have lost every clue on how to do such things - or that it is even possible!

People from every culture in every part of the world describes similar experiences and states of mind (seeing deceased loved ones, "angels", near-death, out of body, the tunnel, relaxing light, healing, etc.). Just on that alone, with an open mind, a scientist with a heart and belief in humans, if not the personal experience herself, should be able to deduce there must be something real in all of these phenomena. Or else, why would all corners of the world share what is essentially the same experiences, wrapped in different words and metaphors? To add to this, the chakra system (India), the kabballa (Israel), the egyptian system and the peruanian (South America) system are all describing essentially the same system of subtle energy centers in the body, where you can translate from one system to the other, almost 100% 1-1. If these systems had no grounding in reality, they would not have such mapping. But since they all are based on ancient, but forgotten, and often unpracticed, science, they have such mapping. Because the energy system is the same in all humans.

What comes first? The experience, or the scientifical proof? Why must the whole universe fit into the scientific square peg-hole of biased scientists?

Of course, science have done wonders for us lately, and the eradication of superstition and illiteracy is also a very welcome improvement whever it happens. However, the success of science may very well be the shortcoming also, when it comes to fully describe the human experience. It's a bit "stuck in the head" so to speak, but in the coming years, will probably have to open up to some deeper truths about life in general in order to be able to evolve further.

But don't just take my word for it. Try reading some books on out of body experiences and reincarnation, like Many Lives Many Masters and others. It's not so far out there as many would like to believe, it is in fact, very much basic to our existence.

Re:Future applications (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | about 5 years ago | (#29706291)

Just be careful not to think "first post"

Or "frost piss".

Re:Future applications (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29706635)

Or "frost piss".

Not so much for the mental slashdot submission, more because that might cause an unfortunate collaboration between your toilet and freezer.

Snow crash? (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 5 years ago | (#29706063)

This sounds a lot like Snow Crash to me - making brains respond automatically to perceived binary input. I wonder if it would be possible to use a sequence of flashing lights to stimulate the brain in the correct manner to produce useful perceptual data within the target brain?

Re:Snow crash? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#29706143)

It is easy to mess with the internals of a brain by pulsing lights at the right frequency. 8 to 12 Hz [wikipedia.org] is a key danger area. And guess what frequency bicycle tail lights flash at? Pulsing light sources are well known to cause seizures.

Mind-Machine Interfaces (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29706071)

Just imagine how useful these could be to disabled people.

Re:Mind-Machine Interfaces (1)

ar1550 (544991) | about 5 years ago | (#29708335)

Absolutely. It even has a blinking LED. Combined with a beeper, perhaps we could establish a system for users where one beep means yes, and two means no?

Re:Mind-Machine Interfaces (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29708751)

I just read your comment as:

Just imagine how useful these could be to disable people.

...and there we have the evil flipside of the coin.

Sorry...

Don't tell the RIAA (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 5 years ago | (#29706145)

Binary I/O from humans. Please, hide this story and the research, don't let the RIAA or MPAA find out, or they will use this to find a way to plug "the analogue hole".

Re:Don't tell the RIAA (0, Offtopic)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 5 years ago | (#29706251)

Homonym fail... [wikipedia.org]

Unpossible! (1)

BluBrick (1924) | about 5 years ago | (#29706881)

Do you realise (or even realize) that some words are spelled differently in British English than in American English? Analog and Analogue are much closer than mere homonyms, they are synonyms as well.

bah, that's nothing (4, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 5 years ago | (#29706171)

and transmits them to the second user's brain through flashing an LED lamp

Bah, that's nothing. When I talk to my wife, I transmit my brain impulses through air, simply by flapping my tongue, and it is transmitted to her brain via vibrations in thin air! Isn't it amazing? ESP and all?

Re:bah, that's nothing (1)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29706197)

When I talk to my wife,

Who are you and how did you sneak past the mind-reading entrance guards?

Re:bah, that's nothing (2, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | about 5 years ago | (#29706675)

Bah, that's nothing. When I talk to my wife, I transmit my brain impulses through air, simply by flapping my tongue, and it is transmitted to her brain via vibrations in thin air! Isn't it amazing? ESP and all?

Wife, flapping tongue, vibrations... Man that's way too much for us simple slashdotters to handle in one sentence. We prefer flashing LEDs mind you!

Re:bah, that's nothing (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 years ago | (#29706755)

Really? When I talk to my wife, a completely different message is received by her half the time.

This is Slashdot! (1)

Tokerat (150341) | about 5 years ago | (#29707637)

Rubbish, sir! Women don't ever talk to us!

IETF RFC? (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 years ago | (#29706205)

Well, until the IETF issues an RFC on this technology, it will be a non-starter.

"IP over ESP" . . . usually seen around the 1st of April.

Can we increase the bandwidth, by meth'ing up the subject?

Re:IETF RFC? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706315)

Only if you want to meth up your tetht rethults too.

Big Bang Theory Remote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706209)

Reminds me of that clip from The Big Bang Theory where the dudes control stuff in their house by sending a signal around the world. Not horribly hard to do, but definitely ups the geek cred.

Linky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kzjqBacF1k

Not ESP, since human isn't doing the sensing (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 5 years ago | (#29706383)

It's not extra-sensory perception unless the human us sensing things outside the normal perception channels. From the article, it sounds like this is just another input device for a computer to be controlled by a human.

And the title of the article, "Communicating person to person through the power of thought alone", is false, since this thing wouldn't work without electricity. By the same logic, I'm communicating with Slashdot readers right now by the power of thought alone, well of course with the help of food energy, muscles, a keyboard, the Internet, etc.

Hold on a momment (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | about 5 years ago | (#29706421)

Hold on a momment guys, my cat is sending me binary telepathic messages.

01100110011011110110111101100100001000000110...

F...o...o..d......b...o...w..l.......e..m...p...t...y

Re:Hold on a momment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29707341)

So you actually did the conversion... Nice

The rights was to do it would be with TMS (1)

jackchance (947926) | about 5 years ago | (#29706545)

Like many posts above, i agree that this is NOT telepathy. It is "communication through thought" (from TFA) in the sense that no one spoke or wrote anything down. In TFA they do not use the term ESP, that was added by the OP.

The easy *correct* experiment would be to ask the sender to think of right vs. left and then read that thought with EEG and then activate the receivers brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation over left vs. right visual cortex (TMS [wikipedia.org] )

The much cooler and much harder experiment would be where the sender (with EEG) would see a zener card [wikipedia.org] and the receiver would "attend" to the TMS experience and would have to guess
  whether it was a circle, star, wave etc. After each guess the receiver would see the card so he could learn to interpret the TMS signals. That would be computer-aided ESP.

and YIAA neuroscientist.

Electronic voting relationship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706563)

Don't get the guy started.

Next thing you know they'll be saying this qualifies as public oversight of electronic vote tabulation devices. Which is utter garbage.

I demonstrated this years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706717)

Instead of a neural readout, I trained my brain to send signals directly to my jaw, lips, and larynx -- and the people around me correctly decipher the generated audio signals around 95% of the time (plus or minus 1.5%). Bandwidth fairly good, although some poorly-encoded messages cause ballistic sideband feedback from women.

futurama reference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706745)

Wheres the obvious futurama reference?

I have a psychic knock knock joke test (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 5 years ago | (#29707069)

..Knock, knock!

.

.

......... Get it?

More Like Tel-apathy: (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | about 5 years ago | (#29707207)

The more the article told me about the experiment, the less I cared. ~

Neurosky can do it better. (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | about 5 years ago | (#29707275)

Neurosky's brain computer interface hardware/software would work much more effectively for this.

wasn't the milliary working on this? (1)

barry_allen (1467825) | about 5 years ago | (#29707323)

this is from (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/pentagon-preps-soldier-telepathy-push) "...$4 million for a program named Silent Talk, which aims to "allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.""

A Poor Example of an Exciting Prospect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29707339)

Among the "where's my flying car" genre of scientific wet-dreams, interfacing digital technology with the brain, I think, is far more achievable than most people have come to realize. TFA is not a very good example of this at all, but it brings our attention back to something that not enough people are focused on.

Anyone who has been keeping an eye out for this type of research (translation: too lazy find a ton of links just now) will recall the recent set of Slashdot articles on the vibrating compass belts and anklets created by a number of different groups and individuals? These, in effect, amount to the addition of a new, digital organ, capable of sensing magnetic north, and providing this new sense information to the brain via existing neuronal pathways (nerves in the skin). People who have used these report that after prolonged use, they don't really even notice the devices. There's also the research being done into sensory substition, like the cameras that attach to electrodes on the tongue (or the back -- google 'tongue vision'), enabling those who have gone blind to regain some vision as their brains learn to process the camera's signals as (admittedly, extremely low resolution) visual information. These examples amount to taking analog and digital data and presenting it to the brain in a protocol that it can learn to use. Why is nobody making a big deal out of this? We're talking about a digital computer communicating more directly with a biological computer than has ever been accomplished before.

The brain is a sophisticated structure that we have only begun to understand. But it is smarter than we are! It can learn to quickly interpret complex patterns of data, if provided to it in a framework comparable to ones it already knows.

Imagine an array of electrodes covering a subject's back, controlled by a computer. The computer runs a program presenting the subject with a series of paragraphs read aloud and written out in text in time with the audio. The readings given to the subject are peppered with a list of 250 basic vocabulary words in increasing frequency. Every time a vocabulary word is read, a specific impulse is sent to the electrode array on the subject's back. Over time, the vocabulary words most often presented to the subject are omitted from the audio and the text on screen, but the impulse is still sent to the electrodes on the subject's back. In a final phase, the playback stops at every vocabulary word, sending the impulse and requiring the subject to type in the respective word.

Imagine this program presented to a child as it learns to speak, or read and write.

Would this not be enough to create a digital link to pre-established circuits in the brain? Systems such as this, learned from shortly after birth, could very quickly open new communications pathways, in addition to our visual and aural senses.

This is all just about afferent nerves, though. Getting output from the brain is certainly more difficult, but I don't think it is too far behind. Yeah, so we can read EEGs to play Pong, and that alone doesn't really sound too impressive. But how far could we really train our brains for this kind of output? Imagine another simple computer program: a series of games that use signals from a subject's EEG to raise a ball off the ground to specific heights. Each centimeter on the scale the ball can be raised on is linked to an impulse sent to the electrodes on the subject's back, giving the subject sensory feedback as he moves the ball on the screen.

Now imagine a similar experiment for a subject fluent in manipulating the previous experiment, where each centimeter the ball is raised to represents one the vocabulary words from the first example. Instead of typing in the words at the prompt in the final phase, the subject has to raise and hold the ball at the point on screen/on his back that corresponds. Yes, this binary up/down word seeking (not unlike the kind used in some computer interfaces for the disabled, operating on eye movements) is cumbersome and lacking. But can you imagine there is any set of actions at all that the brain could learn to perform, perceptible by an EEG or even some sort of brain implant, in response to programmed stimuli? If so, we have output. The brain is so wonderfully plastic, that if learned from an early enough age, I have no doubt that a brain could develop a circuit/protocol to communicate with an EEG sensor (or similar).

This means that provided an intuitive framework, a human could translate conscious (linguistic, numerical/mathematical, possibly abstract) thought directly to and from digital media.

Instant messaging directly linked into the brain. Constant weather forecast updates become neural background noise and tomorrow's tempurate and pressure is as second-nature as knowing which way is up. Sensory substitution with auditory signals means brain-to-brain phone calls. GPS Coordinates, and the ability to 'bookmark' GPS coords or receive those of people on your friends list, always able to find exactly where you are relative to anything else (like that horrible "Where you at?" commercial). Velocity, vector, altitude, heart rate, blood pressure. Enhanced vision covering the full spectrum via camera (with zoom!). Watching your home security camera from anywhere. Seeing through someone else's eyes, almost literally. Precise time. Chemical analysis? How about a device in your stomach broadcasting pH and digestive information -- how might that affect your diet? Yes, all of this is far in the future - but we CAN say that it is absolutely within the realm of human capability, perhaps even current technology, and it is not at all difficult to imagine possible implementations or applications.

If you're still with me and want to dig the rabbit hole even deeper, imagine this: if a human has the ability to transmit/receive linguistic information, what happens if he uses it when asleep and dreaming? Why couldn't two dreaming individuals, lucid, communicate with each other about what they are dreaming? What other kind of protocols, languages could be developed between dreaming minds? How would this affect your ability to remain in a lucid state?

If we've got high enough res visual input, we've also got HUDs for anything that can't be input more directly. Coupled with any kind of output (even manipulating a cursor on a plane or making simple multiple choice decisions) this leads inevitably to menu interfaces.

If you can transmit signals, you can record signals. Now you can schedule tasks and program event triggers. I'm talking about fucking MACROS. Fucking MACROS IN YOUR BRAIN.

Could efferent nerve signals also be hijacked and rewired to other purposes, just as we're rewiring afferent nerves in the skin and tongue to carry other forms of data? Perhaps this is a much more direct route to getting output from the brain than EEG. It would certainly be more precise, with a much wider bandwidth to boot.

This isn't even to mention the potential applications for porn!

If you are under 20, you should be extremely excited to be alive right now. If you haven't been born yet, try to get here sometime in the next century.

Now we need a way to snoop (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | about 5 years ago | (#29707639)

The communication is there, so now all we need is a way to snoop. Logical progression for a security geek.

Brain-to-brain? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 5 years ago | (#29708001)

RIAA lawyer: someone invented a new p2p data sharing scheme? And it's even computer-aided? Surely it could be used to share music... Sue the bastards to hell, rape their wives and daughters, and profit!!!11!!

Obligatory "Firefox"... (1)

Dusty101 (765661) | about 5 years ago | (#29708047)

"You must think in Russian. Slowly..."

Obligatory Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29708683)

There are only 10 types of people:
Those who "get" binary and those who don't.

Would someone mind explaining this? (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | about 5 years ago | (#29708837)

Would someone mind explaining this? The summary makes it sound like telepathy (with a computer encoding and decoding the signals).
As far as I understand it, the person imagines lifting one of their arms. This is picked up and sent over the Internet. At the other end, a light flashes the EEG readings, and the other person's subconscious observes this, which is picked up by their EEG device, and translated into a "left-arm raise" or "right-arm raise", which is then translated into a zero or one.

Frankly, I'm at a loss for any kind of usefulness. It seems like the kind of experiment done just because they can. ("Yes, but it goes over the Internet!!") Wouldn't it just be easier to translate the EEG and turn on or off the light right then and there?
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