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Mind-Reading Computer Takes Images Straight out of Your Brain

Japanese scientists at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Labs have successfully built a machine that can read your mind - or at least getting images straight from your brain:

A Japanese research team has revealed it had created a technology that could eventually display on a computer screen what people have on their minds, such as dreams.

Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories succeeded in processing and displaying images directly from the human brain, they said in a study unveiled ahead of publication in the US magazine Neuron.

While the team for now has managed to reproduce only simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to figure out dreams and other secrets inside people's minds.

Link | Article at Pink Tentacle - via Gizmodo


Proving a lot of psychic phenomena?
If psychic phenomena haven't been able to prove themselves so far...

I call shenanigans on this one anyways.
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Jess, there has actualy been extensive research into the data interpretation of brain waves. It seems they still have alot of noise to filter out, but it's a step in the right direction towards being able to build artificial eyes for blind people.
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I'm curious though. They're converting the brainwaves of what people are actually seeing into images. Wouldn't that be different from what our brains create in our dreams? Our eyes don't actively see our dreams, but the test subjects were actively looking at the images. I wonder if our brains translate images from our eye into brainwaves the same way as it translates imagined images.
Even if this only turned out to a visual thing, it's pretty amazing. Find a way to create the brainwaves and maybe we'll all have extra artificial eyes to perceive the world through. How trippy would that be. To experience the body from one side of the room, but visually perceive it from the other side. Or have multiple sets of eyes that you can switch between in different fixed locations. Weiiirdd..
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If it is real (which on the internet is totally debatable), then this opens a huge can of worms regarding privacy. (Once it reaches a full potential.)
Obviously this could be used to better identify assailants from crimes, help people with psychiatric trauma, etc. But it could also be badly abused by interrogating authorities (Guantanamo Bay?).

I'd personally be interested in seeing how different people view the same things; everyone has a slightly different way of remembering events, features, etc. It could provide a lot of useful information on how we store data in our brains!
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That reminds me of of a Max Headroom (old tv show) episode where they downloaded people dreams for entertainment. Matt Frewer's character I think described it as "mind rape". If something can be abused, it will be.
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If it's for real and can be greatly refined, then it might be useful
for determining what if anything a comatose patient or "vegetative"
individual is "thinking" in terms of generating images if they are able to do so.
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This is amazing. Like I said before, I knew stuff like this was eventually going to happen ... even in my lifetime. But what suprises me is that it is happening so early in my lifetime.
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A complete nonsense.

We don't dream with images (and we don't think with words).

Dreams are encoded.

You think you dreamed about a very detailed tree.

What actually went on was: set: "tree"; value=detailed; resemblance: "tree from the front of my house when i had 8 years old"... And so on.

And even the coding is encoded. And each person has a series of layers of subtle unique encoding.

Sorry, but this will NEVER be possible.
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@whisp
Never say never, did the movie Fivel teach you nothing?

Dream reading may be millenia away but I can actually believe they found a way to decode some simple data from the visual cortex that is pre-conversion.

Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. -- William Dement
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Personally I kinda always wished I could show other people my dreams. Its a sad waste, that I'm the only one seeing them really. They're so... elaborate, detailed, and fantastical. Every morning they just slowly fade away and become harder to remember. I swear I could have a dream that would reveal the meaning of the universe, and I'd wake up just as I do everyday and forget about it all, and go make coffee.
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Jaxx:

Dreams into IMAGES = Never gonna happen. Not now, not ever.

I didn't say dream reading would be impossible. But the output would be very hard to understand (it would be a difficult art), and certainly NOT IMAGES! NEVER!!!

Linking brains together would be much easier than this nonsense.

PD: Notice how i spelled/spelt your nick right?
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According to the image, the electrodes reside in the vision related brain region. For instance, it is common that people can become blind, possibly permanently, if they get a hard blow to the back of the head. It can happen even, if people fall on their back and hit their head to a sidewalk edge or something.

So, the point is taht it might be that they do not have access to thoughst, but just the images that the person looks at.
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Wisp, They tried using a bit map on a blind guy, and guess what: He could see in the same pattern that they were showing on the computer. The visual cortex sees images through brain signals in a grid like fashion. You can actually poke different parts of the brain with electricity and you will see it in different parts of your vision. By the way some people do think in words, my brother does. He has a very hard time visualizing things. I think in pictures and can rotate a 3d image in my head accurately.

So do us a favor, before you say something is impossible do some research so you don't sound like a moron to those that actually know the field of study.
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For all those saying that we can now have artificial eyes.. we already HAVE artificial eyes that allow blind people to see for quite a few years now. You guys are way behind..
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It's interesting research, but it's far from reading thoughts, so everyone can put their tinfoil hats away. The researchers showed random letters to subjects and recorded the fMRI signal that occured after each presentation. They trained a neural network with the data, then fed it results from other random trials. The part of the brain they focused on, primary visual cortex (V1), works well for this because there is a direct mapping between where light hits on the retina and which area of cortex is activated (check out the retinotopic map). Thus, it makes sense that you could easily go from V1 activation to retinal activation to original image.

Other areas of the brain, even other areas of the visual cortex (such as those that process motion, color, and other aspects of an image), are not laid out as nicely, so dreams and other imagined imagery are safe from this technique. The real news seems to be that they were able to get enough of a signal difference via fMRI in order to decode V1 information.
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First off, different areas of the brain activate differently for true and false recognition of stimuli. That being said, dreams would probably fall into this same arena.

Fox, Wisp isn't necessarily incorrect. We do use schemas for a lot of our cognition and attention. However, limiting it to just schemas is wrong considering he neglects the phonological loop, the visiospatial sketchpad, and the central executive as proposed by Baddeley.

fedorajones is on the right track. If you factor in individual differences (we all wire up slightly different), it is doubtful that you will have your thoughts or dreams read anytime soon.

As for the paper itself, I reserve comments until I actually read the paper.
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Interesting, but I don't think it's quite what they make it out to be. They are using what comes into the eyes via the retina and then noting certain responses in the brain from each image. They then correlate the certain brain response elicited for each image. Note that this correlation had to be generated for each person. So, one persons brain response to the image was different than an others response. There really was no image re-construction at all. Merely matching a *specific* persons brain responses to an image - and each persons response was different. It's kind a like reading a persons body language I guess. Only in this case, each persons brain responded differently to the image.. So it's not even as general as body language reading. It's quite a stretch to go from this data to saying actual images from persons mind can be read in detail and images re-constructed.
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the device created is no really big deal.it utilizes image processing exclusively;however,that is only necessary for new image exposure recording.
there have been telepathic guided airplanes,cia programs,and brainwave frequency correlations to images in the early 1960's and prior.
hopefully,this device will work well also;but,it should be analyzed for image capture.the brainwaves do not generate images;but,instead,create waveforms that represent those images.
only the frontal lobe of the brain generates quasi-images.
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Is all this device doing taking the signals traveling through the visual pathway and attempting to reproduce the image from the signals? That's what it looks like- it's not anywhere near reading thought if that's the case.
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