Capturing the brain’s imagery

Posted in: neuroscience, technology- Sep 23, 2011 No Comments

 Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one’s own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach. …

…As yet, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips people have already viewed. However, the breakthrough paves the way for reproducing the movies inside our heads that no one else sees, such as dreams and memories, according to researchers. [Source: UC Berkeley News Center]

Ok, so picture this (heh):
Scientists at UC Berkeley are basically creating a catalogue of video clips that correspond to brain activity recorded while someone is watching a video in an fMRI (well, technically they’re in an MRI machine that is using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology). Taking the data from the fMRI, the scientists reconstruct the video shown by matching a bazillion (read: a lot) clips to those brain waves. The neat thing is they are not just decoding one person’s unique brainwaves, but the results seem to be consistent across the subjects who participated.

So… now that I’ve tried to impress you with my understanding of this mind-blowing advance in neuroscience, you may just want to watch and read below—it’s much more accurate and straight forward.

The left clip is a segment of the movie that the subject viewed while in the magnet. The right clip shows the reconstruction of this movie from brain activity measured using fMRI. The reconstruction was obtained using only each subject’s brain activity and a library of 18 million seconds of random YouTube video. (In brief, the algorithm processes each of the 18 million clips through the brain model, and identifies the clips that would have produced brain activity as similar to the measured brain activity as possible. The clips used to fit the model, those used to test the model and those used to reconstruct the stimulus were entirely separate.) Brain activity was sampled every one second, and each one-second section of the viewed movie was reconstructed separately. [Source: UC Berkeley News Center]

For more information on this <wordsdonotdescribe> advancement:
The source: Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley
Gizmodo: Scientists Reconstruct Brains’ Visions Into Digital Video In Historic Experiment

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