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Scientists Peer Inside the Mind

January 5th, 2009

An article published in the December 10 issue of Neuron describes how researchers at Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories were able to reconstruct images from people’s minds by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow.

Subjects were monitored by an fMRI machine as they were shown random 10×10 pixel, black and white images. A computer learning algorithm was applied to the data, creating an association between the brain activity and the visual patterns. Then, when subjects were shown a new set of images, the program could reconstruct what they were viewing by monitoring the brain activity alone.

The technology is still in very early stages, but the researchers appear quite optimistic. The day could come where you just think of an image and it pops up on your computer screen. …but first someone needs to invent a portable fMRI.

- igor

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