Scientists at UC Berkeley have developed a system that is able to capture visual activity in human brains and reconstruct it as digital videos.
Researchers claim that this process will allow a person to record and reconstruct dreams on a computer screen.
“This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery. We are opening a window into the movies in our minds,” says Jack Gallant, a professor at the University of Berkeley.
For this experiment, they used three subjects who, incidentally, were part of the research team because it was necessary for each of them to spend several hours inside a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging system at a time.
They were exposed to two separate sets of video trailers of Hollywood films. The device recorded the brain’s blood flow through their brains’ visual cortex.
Data were entered into a computer program and were then divided into small, three-dimensional pixels units called voxels or volumetric pixels. The brain signals generated by moving pictures are decoded through this process, connecting information about shape and motion from the movies to specific actions in the brain.
Gradually, the computer learned to associate the visual activity in the movie with the corresponding brain activity.
In the next step, another group of clips was used to reconstruct the images seen by the subjects. By introducing 18 million seconds of a random series of YouTube clips the scientists built a database of the brain’s potential activity.
The computer chose 100 clips that were most similar to those viewed by the subjects. These clips were combined into one blurry video that reconstructed the original films.
The Project at Berkeley is a revolutionary one as it is the first time the brain activity is decoded and rebuilt into a video on the computer.