“While such demonstrations may be compelling to nonscientists, I am concerned that the publicity they garner has unwanted side effects in a false sense of progress for patients and their families or, for others, unwarranted fear that scientists are working toward ‘mind control,’ ” he wrote in an email.
Rao said he and his colleagues decided to get the word out quickly, rather than waiting more than a year to publish their results, because they feared getting scooped on a project they’ve been planning for two years.
The first set of experiments were simply a proof-of-principle, he said. Now that the team knows it will work, they plan to follow up with more extensive experiments and submit the results for peer review.
While the vision of one person’s brain controlling another person’s body conjures Mr. Spock’s Vulcan mind meld and the avatars of James Cameron’s blockbuster film, the reality is much less sexy and likely to remain so for a long time, Rao added.
“What we showed is that we have the technology to do a very, very simple form of direct brain-to-brain communication,” he said. “It’s a very small step.”
©2013 The Seattle Times
Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services