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Surprising Science

Machines Close to ‘Seeing’ the Movies in our Minds

Berkeley scientists say with MRI and computer models they can reconstruct our visual experiences, paving the way to reproduce our mental movies, such as dreams and memories.

What’s the Latest Development?


Imagine watching someone’s dream, or tapping directly into the mind of a coma patient. Berkeley scientists say they’re close to doing it via fMRI and computational models which decode and reconstruct people’s dynamic visual experiences. So far, the technology only reconstructs movie clips you’ve already viewed. But the breakthrough paves the way to reproduce our mental movies no one else sees, such as dreams and memories.

What’s the Big Idea?

The researchers say that eventually the technology could allow us to see into the minds of people who cannot communicate verbally, such as stroke victims, coma patients, and people with neurodegenerative diseases. It may also lay the groundwork for a brain-machine interface, so people with cerebral palsy or paralysis, for example, can guide computers with their minds.


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