iBrain can ‘read your mind’; enlists Stephen Hawking

By Eric Pfeiffer | The Sideshow – Mon, Apr 9, 2012

Dr. Philip Low wearing the “iBrain”
(Misha Gravenor/TechnologyReview.com)

A team of California scientists have developed the world’s first portable brain scanner, and it may soon be able to “read a person’s mind,” playing a major role in facilitating medical breakthroughs.

“This is very exciting for us because it allows us to have a window into the brain. We’re building technology that will allow humanity to have access to the human brain for the first time,” said the project’s leader, Phillip Low.

KGTV reports that the device, created by San Diego-based NeuroVigil, and dubbed the iBrain, fits over a person’s head and measures unique neurological patterns connected to specific thought processes.

Low says the goal is to eventually have a large enough database of these brainwaves that a computer could essentially read a person’s thoughts out loud. One person who has already tried out the iBrain is famed physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking.

“We’d like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain,” said Low. This past summer, Low traveled to Cambridge, England, where he met with Hawking, who was asked to think “very hard” about completing various tasks while wearing the device.

NeuroVigil says the device could be used at home by individuals and worn during sleep. It comes equipped with a USB port for transferring the recorded data to a local computer.

Beyond so-called mind reading, the device has potential medical applications, such as enlisting the iBrain to help doctors prescribe the correct levels of medication based on a person’s brainwave responses. In addition, Low says the iBrain could be used to help treat sleep disorders, depression and even autism.

“This is the first step to personalized medicine,” Low said.

iBrain can ‘read your mind’; enlists Stephen Hawking | The Sideshow – Yahoo! News.

Experts use magnetic scanner to see videos ‘playing’ inside people’s brains

So our minds CAN be read: Magnetic scanner produces these actual images from inside people’s brains

Process reproduces visual images from analysis of blood flow to brain

Experts believe it could be used in future to analyse dreams and memories


Last updated at 9:44 AM on 28th October 2011

Scientists have created a revolutionary brain imaging process which allows them to ‘see’ moving images inside people’s minds. As the test subjects think of a video, the researchers ‘see’ it on screen.

It’s the most astonishing demonstration of ‘mind reading’ technology ever demonstrated.

The academics from the University of California, Berkeley, managed to decipher brain activity by measuring blood flow through the brain’s visual cortex, and used this information to construct images of what they were ‘thinking’. 

Reproduction: An image, left, of Steve Martin in Pink Panther 2 is amazingly recreated through analysis of blood flow into the brain’s visual cortex to produce the representation on the right

They then converted this information into visual patterns after feeding it through a computer, in a process which scientists say ‘opens a window into the movie of our minds’.

As yet, the technology can only recognise and reconstruct movie clips shown to the test subjects before they braved the scanner.

However, the breakthrough paves the way for reproducing the movies inside our heads that no one else sees, such as dreams and memories, according to researchers.

Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist, said: ‘This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery.’


Test subjects watched two separate sets of Hollywood movie trailers, while an MRI scanner was used to measure blood flow through the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual information.

On the computer, the brain was divided into small, three-dimensional cubes – a computer-imaging term known as volumetric pixels, or ‘voxels.’

Shinji Nishimoto, one of the scientists involved in the procedure, said: ‘We built a model for each voxel that describes how shape and motion information in the movie is mapped into brain activity.’

The brain activity recorded while subjects viewed clips was fed into a computer program that learned, second by second, to associate visual patterns in a particular film with the corresponding brain activity.

The computer was then ‘fed’ information so that it could construct its own ‘versions’ of the trailers the subjects were watching – without using the original material. This was done by feeding 18 million seconds of random YouTube videos into the computer program.

The computer then cross-refefenced the two sets of data – and the subjects were shown an entirely new set of film trailers.

The 100 YouTube clips that the computer program decided were most similar to the trailer the subject was watching were merged, creating a blurry, but recognisable image of what was ‘happening’ inside their minds.

[You’ve got to see the rest of the images to believe them…]

via Mind’s eye: Experts use magnetic scanner to see videos ‘playing’ inside people’s brains | Mail Online.

Morality is modified in the lab

How complex is our sense of morality?

Scientists have shown they can change people’s moral judgements by disrupting a specific area of the brain with magnetic pulses.

They identified a region of the brain just above and behind the right ear which appears to control morality.

And by using magnetic pulses to block cell activity they impaired volunteers’ notion of right and wrong.

The small Massachusetts Institute of Technology study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To be able to apply a magnetic field to a specific brain region and change people’s moral judgments is really astonishing

Lead researcher Dr Liane Young said: “You think of morality as being a really high-level behaviour.

“To be able to apply a magnetic field to a specific brain region and change people’s moral judgments is really astonishing.”

The key area of the brain is a knot of nerve cells known as the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ)….

via BBC News – Morality is modified in the lab.

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