Japanese scientists develop ability to read your mind


Original Article 1929 Dream Recorder


Written by Rene Millman   
Friday, 12 December 2008

Sometimes it would be really good to find out what is going on in someone else's head and the Japanese may have taken a real step close to doing just that.

Boffins at Japan's ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have managed to reconstruct pictures inside a human mind and display them on a computer.

The researchers were able to piece together images seen by a person by measuring changes in their cerebral blood flow. The scientists used a unctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine to map changes in blood flow in the cerebral visual cortex as they looked at a set of simple pictures.

The images were 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images  and the subjects viewed them for 12 seconds at a time. While this was happening, the computer compiled and processed the data in an attempt to associate different blood flows with individual image designs.

The subjects were then show completely new images, in this case the letters N,E,U,R,O,N. The computer system was then able to reproduce the image the subjects saw based solely on measuring brain activity.

At present, the computer can only manage to reconstruct simple monochrome images. According to Dr. Kang Cheng, a researcher from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute improvements could be made so that the system can replicate colour pictures from inside the heads of people.

"These results are a breakthrough in terms of understanding brain activity," he said. "In as little as 10 years, advances in this field of research may make it possible to read a person's thoughts with some degree of accuracy."

It is thought that the technology could be used to treat psychotic disorders involving hallucinations. It may also be possible to read feelings and emotional states, which could lead to better detection of terrorist activity.

Source: Chunichi

Patterns reproduce after analysing brain blood flows

method of reconstructing image