What was once thought to be purely science fiction is no longer tha, as processes such as mind control are moving into reality and scientists have already demonstrated that it is possible to control objects with thoughts alone. Amputees are able to control prostheses by thinking alone. Rhesus monkeys have been used to demonstrate that computers can be controlled without touch, but with mind control.
With a better understanding of how the brain works , and which areas are directly involved in specific activity, the development and advancement of the brain-machine interface provides the path for connecting the brain to external instruments. The research which was started about four decades ago, and has progressed with interest and funding from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has resulted in restored eyesight, hearing and mobility. The progression is now continuing at what appears to be an accelerated rate, and has moved from brain-machine to brain connections.
Experienced Star Trek fans may recall the Vulcan Mind Meld process, in which Spock was able to download his thoughts to the participant. The meld allowed participants to virtually be of, or with one mind. Although this remained in the realm of science fiction, recently published reports indicate that mind control is no longer science fiction, but can be replicated in the real world. With the brain machine interface, it is now possible to transfer thoughts to others, and it may even be possible to command others with thoughts alone.
In a fairly straightforward process, researchers at the University of Washington have connected the brains of pairs of subjects over the Internet, and transmitted signals that can control movement of the hands in as close to real time as possible. A co-author of the study published in the Public Library Of Sciences Journal, PLOS ONE, Andrea Stocco, who also teaches psychology while being involved in research at the university’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, says the mind control technology is proven to be reliable enough to be used on anyone. The demonstration requires one participant to be connected to an EEG machine, where the brain activity is recorded and converted to electrical signals that are sent over the web to the recipient. The recipient who was in a separate building, in another section of the campus wears a swim cap with a coil for trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, that controls the area of the brain that is responsible for movement of the hands.
With the configuration, it shows that mind control is no longer in the realm of science fiction, but commands can be sent to others simply by thinking about the commands and transmitting them to others who may be thousands of miles away.
Except for the connection over the Internet, the participants were not able to see each other while the sender sat in front of a computer game but was not able to physically interact, only think about the moves that were required, such as firing a weapon. Similar mind control research has also been completed by a company named Starlab in Barcelona, with reports also published in PLOS ONE. Research is now focused on transferring more complex psychological, and visual processes, such as thought concepts and rules, where the mind meld becomes reality.
Although there may be many ethical considerations, the scientists envision extending use of the mind control technology in bi-directional transfer, and may include information on emotions, pain, psychosis, or depressive thoughts. Some scenarios mentioned, are where the brain of the copilot is immediately alerted when the pilot begins to doze off at the controls, or perhaps knowledge can be downloaded to the student from the teacher. With the advances being made in computers, it is expected that the communication can become routine in a few years as wearables are adopted.
In related developments, researchers have developed a way to control genes, using thought alone. Researchers at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland have combined techniques in optogentics, which is the control of genes using light, and neuroscience to use specific brainwaves that are converted to electrical energy. The electrical energy then powers an infrared light that activates gene expression of a specific protein in engineered cells. The study, recently published in Nature Communications, involved both humans and mice, with a sub-cutaneous implant, that was switched on with a light in the near IR region of the spectrum. The light triggered the creation of the (secreted embryonic alkaline phosphatase) SEAP protein.
The senior author of the study, Martin Fussenegger, indicates that the goal of controlling gene expression with thoughts, has been pursued for more than a decade, and involved human playing the computer game, Mindflex, where a ball was controlled by thought alone, while wearing a headset. The brainwaves generated, while the game was played, was observed to activate the infrared light, which further triggered the protein production.
The researchers hope that the mind control technology can someday be used in treating diseases such as epilepsy, where the brainwave can be adjusted with gene expression, even before the patient is aware of the seizure. The brainwave patterns generated were similar to those observed in meditation which was also able to trigger the infrared light. While it seems scary to the general public that mind control may no longer be science fiction, it may offer proof that mental states can induce therapeutic relief, while also reinforcing the concept of quantum entanglement.
By Dale Davidson