New technology lets you see a movie through a person’s mind

From colour, to sound, to 3D, there have been more than a few innovations in the world of cinema. Now there’s one more that blows the rest out of the water. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technologies, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have created a way to see a film unlike any before: through a person’s brain.

Based of previous research, which involved the studying of brain activity when a person saw simple black-and-white photos, the new study has taken the next step to moving images. Much more challenging than static images, mapping the brain signals created by viewing a film was a major hurdle for the team of researchers, one they largely overcame.

Requiring subjects to stay inside of an MRI scanner for multiple hours watching movie trailers, the researchers mapped out the brain activity of the subjects, then created a “dictionary” of the brain, a lexicon linking blood flow signals with specific motions and shapes.

Subjects were then asked to watch a new series of movie trailers, with this new set of data serving as a model of comparison for the original algorithm of image and brain activity.

A random 5000 hours of YouTube clips were then uploaded into the computer, the near-final step in the experiment. Using the sensory brain-map already created, the computer was then able to determine which clips corresponded to already-viewed trailers (those the subject had already seen) and could then create a visual reconstruction of the original movie clip.

You can see the findings of the research team’s work in the YouTube video below. While the cerebral reconstructions may be blurry, these new findings do aid in the understanding of the brain and point towards new technologies that can aid those with communicative disabilities. Instead of being unable to talk, at some point, individuals could just display their thoughts on the big (or small) screen.

Featured image courtesy of: MattyFlicks

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