[caption id="attachment_62703" align="alignright" width="300"] Mind Meld Rats Communicate Via Their Thoughts[/caption]Pairs of Rats Work Together from 2,000 Miles Away
A neurobiologist from Duke Univeristy, Miguel Nicolelis, implanted tiny electrodes into the brains of pairs of rats that successfully allowed them to communicate with one another via their thoughts.
Nicolelis, who is best known for his work mind-controlled prosthetics said the barin is much more plastic than previously thought.
"Our previous studies with brain-machine interfaces had convinced us that the brain was much more plastic than we had thought," Nicolelis explained. "In those experiments, the brain was able to adapt easily to accept input from devices outside the body and even learn how to process invisible infrared light generated by an artificial sensor. So, the question we asked was, if the brain could assimilate signals from artificial sensors, could it also assimilate information input from sensors from a different body?"
According to Live Science, two rats were separated by up to 2,000 miles then one rat called the encoder saw a light appear above a lever in its cage. If the rat pressed the correct lever it was given a reward. The encoder rat then sent a message via its brain to the decoder rat telling the decoder which lever to press in order to get the reward. No light was in the decoder's cage so it had nothing to go on except its encoder partner. The decoder correctly pressed the lever 70% of the time.
The next step for Nicolelis is to try to link more than just two animal brains together. This more challenging link will be called a brain net.
"We cannot even predict what kinds of emergent properties would appear when animals begin interacting as part of a brain-net," Nicolelis said. "In theory, you could imagine that a combination of brains could provide solutions that individual brains cannot achieve by themselves."
The research was detailed today (Feb. 28) in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
Rats With Linked Brains Work Together