Researchers extract images directly from the brain

Japanese researchers are claiming to have developed new brain analysis technology capable of reconstructing images inside a person’s mind and displaying them on a monitor.

A design team at Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories says that further development of the technology may even make it possible to view dreams. In tests, subjects viewed 400 black and white images held in front of their eyes for 12 seconds. By using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) machine, images were then reconstructed by analysing blood flow changes in the cerebral visual cortex. Once the fmri machine had monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer analysed the data and learned to associate the changes in brain activity with the different image designs. ATR chief researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani said: “This technology can also be applied to senses other than vision. In the future, it may also become possible to read feelings and complicated emotional states.”