Synthetic tactile perception induced by transcranial alternating-current stimulation can substitute for natural sensory stimulus in behaving rabbits

Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 21;6:19753. doi: 10.1038/srep19753.


The use of brain-derived signals for controlling external devices has long attracted the attention from neuroscientists and engineers during last decades. Although much effort has been dedicated to establishing effective brain-to-computer communication, computer-to-brain communication feedback for "closing the loop" is now becoming a major research theme. While intracortical microstimulation of the sensory cortex has already been successfully used for this purpose, its future application in humans partly relies on the use of non-invasive brain stimulation technologies. In the present study, we explore the potential use of transcranial alternating-current stimulation (tACS) for synthetic tactile perception in alert behaving animals. More specifically, we determined the effects of tACS on sensory local field potentials (LFPs) and motor output and tested its capability for inducing tactile perception using classical eyeblink conditioning in the behaving animal. We demonstrated that tACS of the primary somatosensory cortex vibrissa area could indeed substitute natural stimuli during training in the associative learning paradigm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Conditioning, Classical
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Touch Perception*
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation*