Scientists Link Monkey Brains to Create Monkey “Brainet”

Single brain-machine interfaces are already an incredible technology, and we’ve seen them at work with robotics and even flying quadrotors. But scientists at Duke University Medical Center recently upped the ante by completing an experiment involving multiple brains controlling a single machine at once – or, in this case, a virtual robotic arm.

The test subjects in this experiment happened to be three wise monkeys, whose brains were each connected to a computer via electrodes (the monkey’s brains weren’t connected to each other, just to be clear). This allowed the three monkeys to “combine” their brains and work in what the scientists call a “brainet” to control the virtual robotic arm and reach a target.

In subsequent experiments, the three monkeys each controlled only a single dimension of movement, and they succeeded at this, as well.

What could this mean for humans? Are we heading toward a Pacific Rim-esque future of mind-melding giant robot control? A networked hive mind, perhaps? Maybe not, but scientists say these techniques, when applied to humans, could be used to share thoughts or even “do away with language” altogether.


Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.

One Comment

  1. Woah… A “brainet” made up of monkey brain powers! Glad that there was no connecting of said brains. For a second there I was picturing three monkey brains being turned into some kind of super mega monkey brainet..
    This is interesting technology, but scary/disturbing at the same time. Seems for humans, it’s like a doorway to all sorts of mind control/mind reading/mind everything techniques that could be used by the humans in charge and their robots!