Weird Fact: Scientists can now reconstruct the brain’s visions on digital video.

While the video playback has somewhat of an artistic license, this extraordinary development by scientists at UC Berkeley contains the key to recording your thoughts, dreams and visualizations and playing them back on video. In time, this technology could be advanced to reconstruct picture-perfect, 3-Dimensional images – as well as sounds.

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How Thought Reconstruction Works

Here’s how the current thought-to-video process works.

Three members of the research team spent hours inside a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) system while watching Hollywood movie trailers. The equipment measured blood flow patterns through the brain’s visual cortex.

The data was then fed into a computer program which matched up brain activity with motion picture information. In time, the computer built up an enormous “rulebook” of brain activity which it could use to decode what the brain was actually seeing.

Then came converting the new language into video format.

The computer analyzed 18 million seconds of random YouTube clips to build up it’s “paint palette” from which it could create video clips of its own. Ultimately, with enough video material and computing power, this system could recreate any images perceived by your brain.

“This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery,” says Professor Jack Gallant, co-author of the research recently published in the scientific journal Current Biology. “We are opening a window into the movies in our minds.”

 

Future Technology

The implications of this technology are huge. If a portable brain scanning device were to be developed (as opposed to sitting in an fMRI machine) people all over the world could record their dreams, design video games with their minds, and even share their “live” perceptions with other people, a concept explored in the bizarre movie Being John Malkovich.

Other applications of its offspring technology might include telepathic video calls and using mind control to drive your car or operate your computer…

How soon could this happen? Perhaps sooner than you think. Check out this similar experiment from 2004 to see see just how rapidly this technology is evolving:

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Chatback: How do you feel about this kind of emergent technology? Do you embrace it for all mankind or does its runaway potential scare the bejeezus out of you?