Scientists advance technology capable of seeing your dreams

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 Human eye | Image: Wikipediaresearch 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.

MRI scan of a human brain | Image: National Geographic How? I wondered that too, and it’s a lot less complicated than you might think.

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.


15 Responses

  1. I’m fascinated by this story, perhaps because it reminds me of the extraordinary Wim Wenders’ film “Until the End of the World” ( Until the End of the World ), where someone invents a tool which records the brainwaves of seeing, so that a blind person can “see” through someone else’s eyes. The discovery that this machine would also record dreams leads to a narcissistic addiction and a lot of deeper questions about how much we should know about our inner lives. This is definitely a technology to keep “an eye” on!

  2. Sounds like an interesting film – I’ll have to watch it someday. 🙂

    It’ll be interesting watching how this technology progresses in the coming years – I imagine scientists will find all sorts of applicatons for it that they never thought of before. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I was also looking for some information connected with dream recording and I wonder how few men are interesting in that subject. In my opinion, if this will be possible, mant things in worl business will change. For example cinema – all my dream are more interesting than most films, and the company and arny – brain control. I’m sorry that I’m rather too old (thirty four) for study this subject.

  4. wOW that is an interesting one. Let keep our hope for someday.

  5. I had thought of this over 20 years ago & I’m still waiting for them to do it. It would make for some awsome movies

  6. Same with Andrew here, I have been waiting for something like this…I don’t about movies, but this will be a life changing invention

  7. Think of how much better our dreams[or nightmares] are than half the crap that’s in Hollywood?

  8. I’m right there with ya Andrew. I too have been pondering this concept for some time now, and have considered even possibly inventing my own version of the dream recorder. I obviously wanted to see if anyone has been dabbling in this field b4 I pursued anything, and voila! the Japanese have, of course, beaten me to the punch once again lol. I would still like to get involved with the research and developement of this technology and products once we get to that stage. I’ve heard they are building a large research university somewhere in Virginia soon or currently. Does anyone else have any info on this?

  9. Honestly if dreams could be recorded, it would be revolutionary, first of all I think people would easily obtain knowledge of self if they could observe their own dreams, since dreams are a subjective part of us that most people dont really know much about, so we only know a fraction of ourselves, it takes a real strong minded person to know themselves as it is, but if we all could see the full spectrum of who we are, with the assistance of such technology, we’d be alot more mature, and I think this is just the scratch of the surface, I honestly believe understanding and exploiting dreams would change everything for humans, currently a small number of people are enlightened, but imagine if a majority of us were, it would be fantastic, and I think this could open many peoples eyes to things they only “dream” about, and make it a reality.

  10. bullshit

  11. […] Posted on July 24, 2008 by admin “Reality TV producers would love this… 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”…. <More> […]

  12. Hi everyone!
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  13. What about having a micro chip surgically inserted into an area in the brain or skull somewhere that records brainwaves while dreaming and then essentually “downloading” the recordings via a scanner worn in a headband linked to a computor???

  14. So it’s technically the future right now, 2013, and I REALLY WANT THIS! Anyone know how far they’ve got?

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