Bringing telepathic communication one step closer to reality, scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, in the US have created a method that allows three people to work together to solve a problem using only their minds.
In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers showed that three people can play a Tetris-like game using a brain-to-brain interface.
This is the first demonstration of two things—a brain-to-brain network of more than two people, and a person being able to both receive and send information to others using only their brain.
"We wanted to know if a group of people could collaborate using only their brains. That's how we came up with the idea of BrainNet: where two people help a third person solve a task," said Rajesh Rao from the University of Washington.
As in Tetris, the game shows a block at the top of the screen and a line that needs to be completed at the bottom. Two people, the senders, can see both the block and the line but can't control the game.
The third person, the receiver, can see only the block but can tell the game whether to rotate the block to successfully complete the line.
Each sender decides whether the block needs to be rotated and then passes that information from their brain, through the internet and to the brain of the receiver.
Then the receiver processes that information and sends a command—to rotate or not rotate the block—to the game directly from their brain, hopefully completing and clearing the line.
The researchers asked five groups of participants to play 16 rounds of the game. For each group, all three participants were in different rooms and couldn't see, hear or speak to one another.
The senders could see the game displayed on a computer screen.
The screen also showed the word "yes" on one side and the word "no" on the other side.
Beneath the "yes" option, an LED flashed 17 times per second. Beneath the "no" option, an LED f