Has anyone tried this brain-joining experiment

Take two animals (let’s be simple and make them of the same species), attach numerous devices to each specimen’s brain such that the electrical activity of each is able to affec the electrical activity of the other in some way. Even with a very crude such “hookup” I think it’d be worth asking whether any interesting behavior might emerge from the pair as a result.

Well, has anyone tried anything like this ever?

Not sure what you’re asking: will neural activity in animal 1 cause electrical stimulation in animal 2, which will generate neural activity in animal 2 that will stimulate animal 1? Because that sounds like a recipe for shared seizures.

From a technical standpoint, any neural activity detection mechanism (e.g. EEG, SUR) will experience excessive noise if an electrical source is nearby. Possibly you might be able to do it if you put the incoming signals contralateral to the outgoing source.

I think the OP is going for “networking” brains the way you would do multiple computers. Which would be pretty nifty whether or not you contalateralized the respective signals.

So…HAS it been done?

It would be trivial to hook up EEGs to two subjects and have each subject observe each other’s EEG on a computer monitor. i suspect because that it’s easy, someone must have tried it. I’m pretty sure with some practice you could communicate in some fashion.

Not what your asking, but maybe more feasible, but still risky;

using blood transfusion techniques, swap as much blood between 2 people as is possible without killing them. You will now have 2 individuals metabolizing each others blood sugars, and interplaying their various endocrine signals and also having their brain oxygen levels maintained by the others hemoglobin.
Weird, huh?

(saw this in a deve sex thread on a defunct board a few years ago)

OK, how about this? If animal 1 moves his right front leg, can animal 2 be hooked up in such a way that it will move the same leg synchronously?

I’d really appreciate getting all of my galley slaves to row as quickly as Akbar.

There is the case of Krista and Tatiana Hogan, cojoined twins joined at the head, and sharing brain matter and nervous system. It has been determined that they can see through each others eyes.


Hmmm… would there be any ethical problems? Sometimes I swear the world really needs a few mad scientists.

The electrical activity of my brain is affecting the electrical activity of yours at this moment.

Head explodes

That’s probably the biggest limitation. We have only a very limited knowledge of what we can do to manipulate the activity of the brain through electrical stimulation: basically we can inactivate a whole region for a few seconds, possibly create some weird perception (e.g. out of body experience by activating the vestibular cortex), at best we can stimulate a piece of motor cortex and hope to activate one muscle selectively.
These sorts of interactions are just too crude and I wouldn’t expect to see any sort of ‘joint’ behavior emerging from that. Two animals wired together would just feel some occasional weird things happening but their brain would never make sense out of that and begin to interact as ‘one being’.

This doesn’t answer the main question ‘was ever it tried ?’ directly, but I think that there will be quite some time before we have a chance to hear from such an experiment.

You’re MAD!

Just had to say that so that when the time comes, you can truthfully say “They called me MAD when I proposed my first crude brain-joining experiment, but look at me now! SEIZE THEM, Olsenstein!”

As noted, the biggest obstacle is actually integrating electrical connections with sufficient resolution into the brain in a meaningful way and avoiding scarring and rejection. It has been tried for vision in the past, with some small success, but not as a general solution. However, it seems clear that using an existing neural input system (such as the tongue) is much quicker - the brain adapts very fast (I saw a TV show where a doctor adapted to “vision” via a camera and the tongue over the course of an afternoon). Cochleal implants are a similar success in neural/electrical integration, but using an existing neural structure.


Have a look at Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading, UK. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Warwick

He was linked electrically to his wife although not as dramatically as the OP asks about. From Wikipedia:
"The electrode array inserted contained 100 electrodes, of which 25 could be accessed at any one time, whereas the median nerve which it monitored carries many times that number of signals. The experiment proved successful, and the signal produced was detailed enough that a robot arm developed by Warwick’s colleague, Dr Peter Kyberd, was able to mimic the actions of Warwick’s own arm.

By means of the implant, Warwick’s nervous system was connected onto the internet in Columbia University, New York. From there he was able to control the robot arm in the University of Reading and to obtain feedback from sensors in the finger tips. He also successfully connected ultrasonic sensors on a baseball cap and experienced a form of extra sensory input.

A highly publicised extension to the experiment, in which a simpler array was implanted into the arm of Warwick’s wife—with the aim of creating a form of telepathy or empathy using the Internet to communicate the signal from afar—was also successful, resulting in the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans."

Wow! Thanks, Ken001! Not only is that absolutely fascinating, but I just had a delightful romp through all kinds of wonderful topics starting with that Wiki page!!
Uh-oh… I feel another bout of Wiki leapfrog coming on…

My pleasure. I’m a noob here so its nice to be helpful. :smiley: