Scientists Have Found A Way To Record Brain Images
By Allison M. Dickson 2011-09-27 23:26:54
Is it just me, or would it be the coolest thing ever to have a library of your dreams? To be able to re-visit those fleeting and weird, or sometimes downright epic sleep movies we all watch every night when our heads hit the pillow?
Well, some scientists at UC Berkely have brought us one step closer to doing just that, by reconstructing brain images and turning them into digital videos. It all started when three researchers watched a series of movie trailers while inside an fMRI machine, which recorded their brains' activity and blood flow in response to the imagery. Afterward, the scientists fed those results into a massive database of streaming videos that allowed the computer to pick out the images and colors that most closely matched the responses from the fMRI.
Miraculously, the computer was able to accurately reconstruct the videos the researchers watched not once, but all three times. I'll look away while you change your pants.
Yes, the resulting videos were extremely smudged looking blobs, but so what? The TV I had growing up in the 80s had a flickering 13-inch screen and we turned its channels with an actual knob that clicked. Twenty-five years later, I'm rocking a glorious 55-inches of 1080P real-estate, which my kids will probably laugh about when they're my age. In other words, be patient young Padawans. The future is coming.
As a writer, I often find inspiration for stories from my dreams. Sometimes those ideas are hard to conceptualize, either because my memory of the dream is vague, or because there are large chunks of detail that were probably misplaced almost as soon as they happened, like a cluster of fragmented data in a hard drive. As a result, I'm forced to reconstruct it with stuff that is probably far more mundane that what I actually dreamed. Now it seems like we might be able to have a backup of the original file.
Of course, this also creates the potential for a dream black market for paparazzi. The Kim Kardashian sex tape or the Scarlett Johansson nude pics would be nothing compared to the leaked dream video stolen from Michael Bay that features him surfing tsunamis of cash while fisting unicorns.
I'm sure one part of that dream isn't much of a stretch for him. Pretty soon though, we might be able to find out which part. I love the future.