How Do You Control Another Person’s Movements With Your Brain?

Measuring the brain activity of a volunteer as she moves her arm. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Measuring the brain activity of a volunteer as she moves her arm. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Greg Gage, from the University of Michigan alumni and co-founder of Backyard Brains, gave a talk during March’s TED Talks in Vancouver, and showed that brain science can be accessible to everyone.

Through Backyard Brains, Gage has created DIY equipment so that anyone can do experiments in brain science.

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DIY equipment for performing experiments in brain science. (Screenshot/YouTube)

He recorded the sound of the brain’s electrical and chemical messages that facilitate voluntary movement in the arm on a volunteer. By attaching electrode’s to the volunteer’s arm, Gage was able to show both auditorially and visually how these signals are processed as her arm is moved.

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What brain signals to a volunteer’s arm look like visually. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Greg Gage: How to control someone else’s arm with your brain:

“The brain is an amazing and complex organ, and while many people are fascinated by the brain, they can’t really tell you that much about the properties about how the brain works because we don’t teach neurosciences in schools,” Gage told the crowd during his demonstration.

Gage then asked for another volunteer to come on stage. Using a computer and electrodes, Gage gave the first volunteer the power to move the other volunteer’s arm simply by using her brain.

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The volunteer on the left is moving the volunteer’s fingers on the right through her brain activity. (Screenshot/YouTube)

“It seems that what we should be doing is reaching back earlier in the education process and sort of teaching students about neuroscience, so that in the future they may be thinking about possibly becoming a brain scientist,” Gage added.

It’s not a new technology, but it’s fascinating to watch and will hopefully get more people interested in brain science.

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