Here, we report that the development of a brain-To-brain interface (BBI) system that enables a human user to manipulate rat movement without any previous training. In our model, the remotely-guided rats (known as ratbots) successfully navigated a T-maze via contralateral turning behaviour induced by electrical stimulation of the nigrostriatal (NS) pathway by a brain-computer interface (BCI) based on the human controller's steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs). The system allowed human participants to manipulate rat movement with an average success rate of 82.2% and at an average rat speed of approximately 1.9 m/min. The ratbots had no directional preference, showing average success rates of 81.1% and 83.3% for the left-and right-Turning task, respectively. This is the first study to demonstrate the use of NS stimulation for developing a highly stable ratbot that does not require previous training, and is the first instance of a training-free BBI for rat navigation. The results of this study will facilitate the development of borderless communication between human and untrained animals, which could not only improve the understanding of animals in humans, but also allow untrained animals to more effectively provide humans with information obtained with their superior perception.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partly supported by a grant from CABMC (Control of Animal Brain using MEMS Chip) funded by Defense Acquisition Program Administration (UD140069ID)
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