What if scientists could peer inside your brain and then reconstruct what you were thinking, playing the images back like a video? Science and technology are not even remotely at that point yet, but a new study from the University of California Berkeley marks a significant, if blurry, step in that direction.
“Using our particular modeling framework, we can actually infer very fast dynamic events that happen in the brain,” said Jack Gallant, a neuroscience professor at the University of California Berkeley who worked on the study, which was published today in the journal Current Biology.
To try and read the brain, the scientists showed people compilations of YouTube clips from Hollywood movie trailers while they were inside a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine, better known as fMRI. The machine took scans as the subjects watched the compilation 10 times, totaling around two hours. The scientists created a new computer model to decode the brain imaging data they collected, including general movement, shapes, and colors. They were able to translate the data into actual videos by matching the brain scans with the closest moving images from the giant database of random Internet video clips.
The result was a set of blurry, ghostly continuous videos approximating what the subjects were watching.