Imagine being able to watch someone else’s dream, or see what they’re daydreaming about. Surely this is only possible in science fiction? Well actually, it is (probably) possible in real life too, and the technology needed to do it may be around in just a few decades.
Scientists at Stanford University have published new research in which they could ‘see’ what someone else was seeing. OK, the scientists didn’t physically ‘see’ an image of what the participant was viewing, but they could work out what sort of picture the participant was looking at.
It’s basically like giving someone a book with a few hundred pictures in, then telling them to open to a random page, and being able to work out which image the person is looking at. Very cool.
The scientists started by showing a series of images to the participants, and tracking the different oxygen levels in the brain associated with each image – different pictures will trigger different amounts of oxygen in different parts of the brain. They repeated this several hundred times, putting the results into a computer program that could ‘learn’ which oxygen levels were associated with each type of picture.
Then, when an unknown image was shown to the participant, the computer program would look at the person’s brain oxygen level and figure out what sort of image they are looking at.
So what about seeing dreams? It’s certainly a long way off yet, but I think this new research is a vital first step to a massive number of possible applications. Of course, it also raises the issue of whether people want to have their brains read… I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – post a comment below.
Filed under: Exploration, Health, Nature, Science, Technology | Tagged: biology, body, brain, dream, dreams, eye, eyes, future, human, human body, life, news, research, Stanford, Stanford University |