UC Berkeley researchers, whose work was published in a study in the journal Current Biology on Thursday, have created a computer program that may allow us to view the images in another person’s brain. Using an MRI machine to record the brain signals of three subjects as they watched videos on YouTube, the team then took the recorded signals and ran them through their computer program’s database of 18-million-seconds of random YouTube clips, not including the ones the subjects had actually been watching. Their program was able to reconstruct muddy composites of the movies that the subject had been viewing from the random information they were given, to a bizarrely accurate extent, capturing movement, shape, color, even text.
“This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery,” said Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and coauthor of the study. “We are opening a window into the movies in our minds.” It’s true — moving images have never been captured in this way before, and this technology seems to be the first step towards getting a glimpse into the mind of a person in a coma, or being about to record and watch your own dreams — or at least a visual approximation of them. Click through to see a side-by-side video of the original footage watched by the subject and the composite the Berkeley researchers’ computer created and prepare to be amazed.