Next Up: Telepathic Tweeting

NSFW, because Alec Baldwin:

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Leslie Horn flags a recent study suggesting that Shitter isn’t as fictional as you might think:

Basically what happened is this: One subject was located in one room and the other in another room, and they couldn’t communicate in any way other than via their brains.

They both looked at a game where they had to defend a city by firing a cannon. But one guy had his brain hooked up to a electroencephalography machine that read his brain signals, and instead of having any kind of joystick, he’d just think about moving his hand to fire the cannon. That was be transmitted over the Internet to the other operator, whose hand was situated on a touchpad, and would twitch and tap in the right direction if the signals went through.

Researchers tried this out on three pairs of six, and saw a 25 to 83 percent success rate. Which is a really wide range, but your main takeaway is this: the researchers have now seen enough success with brain-to-brain mind/motor control, they’re confident it’s a thing that works.

Susannah Locke reminds us that this study wasn’t the first telepathy experiment of note:

In August 2014, an international group led by Starlab Barcelona researchers in Spain used similar technology to have someones end a one-word email to someone else. They called it the “realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface.” But the process of sending that one-word e-mail was extremely complicated, not very practical, and far more time-consuming than playing video games. It involved translating a message into a binary code of “0”s and “1”s. The sender imagined moving his feet for 0s and hands for 1s. And then the receiver was hooked up to a device that stimulated his brain to create the perception of flashes of light, which was then translated back into 0s and 1s. All in all, this method of communication had a speed of 2 bits per minute – roughly one millionth the average internet speed in the US. That meant it took roughly 70 minutes just for one person to say “hola” or “ciao” to another.