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How you and your friends can play a video game with only your mind

  How you and your friends can play a video game with only your thoughts
The University of Washington researchers created a method for two people who help a third person solve a task that only uses their mind. Heather Wessel, a recent UW candidate with a bachelor's degree in psychology (left), and Savannah Cassis, a UW bachelor of psychology (right), sent information about a Tetris-like game from their brains over the Internet to UW Psychology graduate students Theodros Haile s (middle) brain. Haile could then manipulate the game with his mind. Credit: Mark Stone / University of Washington

Telepathic communication can be a step closer to reality thanks to new research from the University of Washington. A team created a method that allows three people to work together to solve a problem using only their minds.

In BrainNet, three people play a Tetris-like game using a brain-to-brain interface. This is the first demonstration of two things: a brain of the brain network of more than two people, and a person is able to both receive and send information to others who only use their brain. The team published its results on April 16 in the Nature Journal Scientific Reports although this research previously attracted media attention after the researchers sent it September to the preprint site arXiv.

"People are social beings who communicate with each other to cooperate and solve problems that neither of us can solve," says equivalent author Rajesh Rao, Professor CJ and Elizabeth Hwang of UW's Paul G. Allen School of computer science and engineer and a co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology. "We wanted to know if a group of people could only work through their brains. How we understood the BrainNet idea: where two people help a third person solve a task."

As in Tetris, the game shows a block at the top of the screen and a line to fill in at the bottom. Two people, the senders, can see both the block and the line, but cannot control the game. The third person, the recipient, can only see the block, but can tell the game whether to rotate the block in order to complete the line. Each sender determines whether the block should be rotated and then sends it information from their brain, via the Internet and to the recipient's brain. Then the recipient processes this information and sends a command to rotate or not rotate the block to the game directly from their brain, hopefully to complete and clear the line.

  How you and your friends can play a video game together using only your mind
Allen School Graduate student Linxing Preston Jiang creates Savannah Cassis, a UW Bachelor of Psychology, as the first sender. Credit: Mark Stone / University of Washington

The team asked five groups of participants to play 16 rounds of the game. For each group, all three participants were in different rooms and could not see, hear or speak to each other.

The senders could each watch the game appear on a computer screen. The screen also showed the word "Yes" on one side and the word "No" on the other side. During the "Yes" setting, one LED flashed 17 times per second. Under the "No" option, one LED flashed 15 times per second.

"When the sender has decided whether to rotate the block, they send & # 39; yes & # 39; or & # 39; no & # 39; to the recipient's brain by concentrating on the corresponding light," it said first author Linxing Preston Jiang, a student in the Allen School's combined Bachelor's / Master's degree program.

The senders had electroencephalography caps that fetched electrical activity in their brains. The various flashing patterns of light trigger unique types of activities in the brain that the caps can fetch. So, when the senders stared at the light of their choice, the cap picked up these signals and the computer delivered real-time feedback by displaying a marker on the screen that moved toward their desired choice. The choices were then translated into a "Yes" or "No" response that could be sent over the Internet to the recipient.

  How you and your friends can play a video game with only your thoughts
Justin Abernethy, a research assistant at I-LABS, creates the coil that will deliver the sender's response directly to UW psychology graduate students Theodros Haile's brain. Haile also has an electroencephalography cap to send his answers back to the senders and the computer. Credit: Mark Stone / University of Washington

"To deliver the message to the receiver, we used a cable that ends with a rod that looks like a small racket behind the receiver's head. This coil stimulates the part of the brain that translates signals from the eyes," said co-author Andrea Stocco, assistant professor at the Department of Psychology and the Department of Learning and Brain Sciences, or I-LABS. "We" mainly "trick" the neurons in the back of the brain to spread around the message that they have been signaled by the eyes. Then, the participants have the feeling that bright arcs or objects suddenly come before their eyes. "

If the answer was" Yes, turn the block "then the receiver will see the bright flash. If the answer was" No "then the recipient would not see anything. The recipient received input from both senders before deciding whether or not The block must be rotated because the receiver also had an electroencephalography cap using the same method as the sender to select yes or no.

The senders were given the opportunity to read the recipient's decision and send corrections if they did not agree. Another decision, everyone in the group found out if they were clearing the line. On average, each group removed the line 81% of the time or 13 out of 16 trials.

The researchers wanted to know if the recipient would learn over time to trust a sender over the other based on their reliability.The team deliberately chose one of the transmitters to be a "bad transmitter" and turned their answer into 10 out of the 16 attempts – so a "yes, rotate block" would be given to mo the recipient as "no, don & # 39; t rotate the block, "and vice versa. Over time, the receiver switched from being relatively neutral about both senders to strongly prefer the information of the" good sender. "[Divdata-thumb="https://3c1703fe8dsiteinternatcdnnet/newman/csz/news/TMB/2019/3-howyouandyoujpg"data-src="https://3c1703fe8dsiteinternapcdnnet/Newman/gfx/news/HiRes/2019/3-howyouandyoujpg"datasub-html="EteksempelpåspilletEnmodtagerserpanelernetilvenstreogtoafsendereserpanelernetilhøjreØversterækkeviserskærmeistartenafexperimentsenders(rightpanel)kansedengrønnelinjeibundenmenmodtagerenkanikkeMellemradienernårafsendereharmulighedforatgennemlæsemodtagerensbeslutningogkanforeslåatmodtagerenskifterderesmeningNedersterække:Success!DetoschefreferredhighlightedreceivedCredit:Jiangetal2019 Scientific Reports ">

  How you and your friends can play a video game with only your minds
An example of the game. A recipient sees the panels to the left and two senders see the panels to the right. The top row shows the screens at the beginning of the experiment. The senders (right panel) can see the green line at the bottom, but the receiver cannot. Middle city is when senders have the opportunity to read the recipient's decision and can suggest that the recipient changes their opinion. Bottom Row: Success! The two screens after the senders have changed the recipient's mind. Credit: Jiang, et al. 2019, Scientific Reports

The team hopes that these results pave the way for future brain-brain brain enabling people to work together to solve tough problems that a brain alone could not solve. The researchers also believe that this is an appropriate time to begin to have a greater conversation about the ethics of this type of brain enhancement research and to develop protocols to ensure that people's privacy is respected as technology improves. The group works with the Neuroethics team at the Center for Neurotechnology to solve these types of problems.

"But for now it's just a baby step. Our equipment is still expensive and very bulky, and the task is a game," said rao. "We are in the" Kitty Hawk "day of brain interface technologies: We just get off the ground."

BrainNet allows three people to communicate using brainwaves to play Tetris

More Information:
Linxing Jiang et al., BrainNet: A Multi-Person Brain-to-Brain Interface for Direct Cooperation between Brains, Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10, 1038 / 41598-019-41895-7

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How you and your friends can play a video game with only your mind (2019, July 1)
July 2, 2019
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