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Duke scientists teach rats to communicate telepathically


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#1 thatlookseasy

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-21604005

Scientists have connected the brains of lab rats, allowing one to communicate directly to another via cables.

The wired brain implants allowed sensory and motor signals to be sent from one rat to another, creating the first ever brain-to-brain interface.

The scientists then tested whether the rat receiving the signal could correctly interpret the information. As the ultimate test of their system, the team even linked the brains of rats that were thousands of miles apart.

The researchers first trained pairs of rats to solve a simple problem - pressing the correct lever when an indicator light above the lever switched on, to obtain a water sip.

The researchers then placed the rodents in separate chambers and connected their brains using arrays of microelectrodes - each roughly one hundredth the diameter of a human hair - inserted into the area of the cortex that processes motor information.

One rat was designated as the "encoder". Once this rat pressed the correct lever, its brain activity was delivered as electrical stimulation into the brain of the second rat - designated the "decoder".
The decoder rat had the same types of levers in its chamber, but it did not receive any visual cue indicating which lever it should press to obtain a reward.

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In order to receive the reward, the decoder rat would have to rely on the cue transmitted from the encoder via the brain-to-brain interface.

The team members then conducted trials to determine how well the decoder animal could decipher the brain input from the encoder rat to choose the correct lever. The decoder rat ultimately achieved a maximum success rate of about 70%.

Although the information was transmitted in real time, the learning process was not instantaneous.
"[It] takes about 45 days of training an hour a day," said Prof Nicolelis.

"There is a moment in time when... it clicks. Suddenly the [decoder] animal realises: 'Oops! The solution is in my head. It's coming to me' and he gets it right."

There was also a feedback system, denying the encoder rat an extra reward if the decoder rat did not press the correct lever.

The encoder rat's brain signals then became clearer, giving the decoder a greater chance of interpreting the message correctly, Prof Nicolelis noted.



#2 Kurb

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

Whoa

#3 Hugor Hill

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:31 PM

K's been doing that with refs for years, about time he shared it with the higher ups at DU.

#4 stankowalski

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

K's been doing that with refs for years, about time he shared it with the higher ups at DU.

Beat me to it.

#5 Boner Champ

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:19 PM

Ladies and gentleman, may I present the #1 google image result when searching "rat face" .....

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#6 Jase

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:31 PM

Previously, the only way rats could communicate was on AFMB.

#7 Bronn

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:14 PM

This is misleading... It isn't telepathy if there is a physical interface.

Basically, they are just moving some wires around in a circuit and calling it telepathy.

Pretty much, they are plugging an extension cord into a wall outlet.

#8 thatlookseasy

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:15 PM

This is misleading... It isn't telepathy if there is a physical interface.

Basically, they are just moving some wires around in a circuit and calling it telepathy.

Pretty much, they are plugging an extension cord into a wall outlet.


Telepathy is only defined as communication without any of the normal senses. But this article actually gives more detail into the methodology, and what they did is a bit less impressive.

Next the scientists connected each encoder rat to a decoder rat via wiring with a small computer in between. When an encoder rat pressed the lever on the right, the neural firing signal went to the computer, which sent the decoder rat a signal that was adjusted based on the average signal that had been calculated earlier. When an encoder pressed the lever on the left, the computer translated it into one or no pulse and sent that information to the decoder rat.

Encoder rats pressed the correct levers associated with the LED about 95 percent of the time. Each decoder rat, which didn’t have LED lights as a guide, received a signal from its brain chip, either the mathematically transformed signal for the right lever, or one or no pulse for the left. These decoder rats pressed the corresponding lever in 60 to 72 percent of the trials.

After the researchers began rewarding the encoder rats when the decoder hit the correct lever, the encoders’ behavior appeared to be influenced by the decoders’ activity. When a decoder rat hit the wrong lever, the encoder was quicker to hit a lever the next time around. And the encoder’s neural signal was stronger.

“When the decoder commits an error and the encoder doesn’t get a reward, it makes its behavior more accurate,” says Nicolelis.

The decoder rats did surpass the level of 50 percent correct responses that would be expected by chance. But the experiment would be much more interesting if the decoders hadn’t been trained to associate a burst of brain stimulation with one lever and a lack of stimulation with the other, says cognitive neuroscientist Uri Hasson of Princeton University. A rat might just be associating a brain zap with the lever on the right, and no zap with the lever on the left, as it was taught to during training, Hasson says.




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