How The Human Body Can Be Remotely Controlled

May 26th, 2015

Neuroscientists are developing ways for computers to interact with the human nervous system. In this 5-minute TED video, neuroscientist and educator Greg Gage demonstrates how one person can move the arm of another connected to them simply via electrodes and a computer.

Incredible and creepy: the brain is an organic computer whose wiring can be electrically engaged with and hacked. In another TED Talk we recently posted, Neuroscientists Create New Senses To Plug Into Our Brains, we saw how the human brain is capable of translating data from external devices into actual sensory events. In Greg Gage’s demonstration below, a computer translates one brain’s motor output into another body’s motor input, allowing a woman to move the hand of a man to whom she’s connected via electrodes.

As half of Backyard Brains, neuroscientist and engineer Greg Gage builds the SpikerBox — a small rig that helps kids understand the electrical impulses that control the nervous system. He’s passionate about helping students understand (viscerally) how our brains and our neurons work, because, as he said onstage at TED2012, we still know very little about how the brain works — and we need to start inspiring kids early to want to know more.