Sci/Tech Computer can read letters directly from the brain

The Helper

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By analysing MRI images of the brain with an elegant mathematical model, it is possible to reconstruct thoughts more accurately than ever before. In this way, researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at. The journal Neuroimage has accepted the article, which will be published soon.

A preliminary version of the article can be read online.

Functional MRI scanners have been used in cognition research primarily to determine which brain areas are active while test subjects perform a specific task. The question is simple: is a particular brain region on or off? A research group at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University has gone a step further: they have used data from the scanner to determine what a test subject is looking at.

The researchers 'taught' a model how small volumes of 2x2x2 mm from the brain scans – known as voxels – respond to individual pixels. By combining all the information about the pixels from the voxels, it became possible to reconstruct the image viewed by the subject. The result was not a clear image, but a somewhat fuzzy speckle pattern. In this study, the researchers used hand-written letters.

 
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OMGOMGOMG

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Just. Awesome.

I love science and technology, and things that help us catch criminals will be for the better.
 

Accname

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Just. Awesome.

I love science and technology, and things that help us catch criminals will be for the better.
Catch criminals? How? All they can do is see what you are seeing right now.
Might be interesting to do this with people who have like visual handicaps. Like people who can not see certain colors and shit.
 

KMilz

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If we can decipher what they're seeing, it could stand to reason that this could eventually be developed into something where we could decipher what someone was thinking or dreaming. That sounds like a dangerously cool thing to have.
 

Accname

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Dont think so. What somebody sees is a stimuli that you can check against data you already have. You just let people look at something and you watch what parts of the brain go off.
Then you see how the data you receive changes when you change the images. Although very difficult its rather simple procedure.
But there is no easy way to find out how data is "stored" in your brain.
 

KMilz

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I don't see why they couldn't do the same thing, checking against what the person said they were thinking of instead of what they were looking at.
 

Accname

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Because memory is complex. There is short term memory, long term memory, there is body memory, etc.
And why should it work the very same way for every human being? Maybe some people remember things a different way then others. Maybe some memories are triggered by audio or visual stimuli, and some are always accessible by the person in an instant. Sometimes you know that you know something but you just dont know what it is.
There is just too many possibilities and variables here. You cant just test and see what happens because you just dont know how big it actually is.

Visual information is simple. You can change it and the eyes will no longer see it. But can you make somebody stop thinking about something? Can you make him stop remembering? Or make him remember by pushing a button? This is complicated matter.
 

Varine

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Why would criminals be the first thing you think of?
 

KMilz

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Without knowing more about how the brain works, I can't really argue my side... so I won't. Doesn't stop the idea from being any less awesome, though.
 

Dan

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GUYS THAT PHOTO IS FAKE!

*hehehe*
 
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