Japanese scientists have unveiled a device that can pluck images out of your brain and recreate them on a computer screen.

Using an fMRI brain scanner, researchers read electrical signals coming from people's brains while they thought about letters in the word "neuron." The research team led by Yukiyaso Kamitani at ATR Computational Neuroscience Labs has designed software that can process the output of the fMRI and search for signals associated with vision. (Many of the same parts of the brain that process images in the real world are also used to create images in your mind's eye.)

Once they'd processed the signals they received, researchers were able to recreate the word "neuron" from what they'd picked up in subject's brains.


A representative from the research center said:

By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams.

Obviously we have a long way to go before that. But it's an interesting idea, and one that's been exploited a lot in science fiction scenarios where devices like these are used to capture images from people's memories. Given that fMRI scans are already being used as evidence in courtrooms, could scans of images in people's brains be far behind?


Visual Image Reconstruction From Brain Activity [via Neuron]