Dreams may no longer be secret with Japan computer screen

December 11, 2008
Japanese student demonstrates walking in a virtual world
Japanese student demonstrates walking in a virtual world, on a flat screen monitor, with the character controled by his brain waves, in Yokohama, in 2007. A Japanese research team has advanced even further by creating a technology that could eventually display on a computer screen what people have on their minds, such as dreams.

A Japanese research team has revealed it had created a technology that could eventually display on a computer screen what people have on their minds, such as dreams.

Content from AFP expires 1 month after original publication date. For more information about AFP, please visit www.afp.com .

Explore further: New superconducting coil improves MRI performance

Related Stories

New superconducting coil improves MRI performance

July 20, 2016

A multidisciplinary research team led by University of Houston scientist Jarek Wosik has developed a high-temperature superconducting coil that allows magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to produce higher resolution ...

Time travelling to the mother tongue

July 19, 2016

The sounds of languages that died thousands of years ago have been brought to life again through technology that uses statistics in a revolutionary new way.

Identifying brain regions automatically

July 15, 2016

Using the example of the fruit fly, a team of biologists led by Prof. Dr. Andrew Straw has identified patterns in the genetic activity of brain cells and taken them as a basis for drawing conclusions about the structure of ...

Imaging at the speed of light

July 1, 2016

Researchers have improved upon a new camera technology that can image at speeds about 100 times faster than today's commercial cameras while also capturing more image frames. The new technology opens a host of new possibilities ...

New technique uncovers hidden face behind cosmetic paints

June 28, 2016

Face recognition has become a key tool for unobtrusive human identification broadly applied in areas of surveillance, forensic, security, access control, etc. In recent years, although the accuracy of today's visible-spectrum ...

Recommended for you

Plans for self-driving cars have pitfall: the human brain

July 19, 2016

Experts say the development of self-driving cars over the coming decade depends on an unreliable assumption by many automakers: that the humans in them will be ready to step in and take control if the car's systems fail.

How to build a 1,000mph car (by the scientists behind it)

July 22, 2016

It was a staggering feat, a car that went faster than the speed of sound. On October 15 1997, Andy Green travelled across the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, in the Thrust SSC at 763.035 mph, or Mach 1.02. Two decades on, that ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.9 / 5 (8) Dec 11, 2008
Well, well....say hello to virtual wet dream movies :P LOL
2.2 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2008
more like great horror flicks
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 11, 2008
Awesome!!! it will be like the dream recorder in Red dwarf! i wonder fi they will be able to reverse teh process and put images in to some ones visual cortex creating the most realistic VR imaginable?
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2008
User-generated content will explode soon enough with this discovery.
4.3 / 5 (11) Dec 11, 2008
This is a horrible development for the sanctity of marriage...just imagine all the arguing that will come when "she" reviews "his" dreams...
3.1 / 5 (7) Dec 11, 2008
Oh shit !!!
4 / 5 (6) Dec 11, 2008
Awesome! Can't wait when it will read dreams and thoughts with good accuracy.
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 11, 2008
I think we're all getting ahead of ourselves here.

One would assume there would be a huge leap from crude images to full-color, high-def dream movies. I don't think we have to worry about our inner-most secrets being revealed any time soon.

I remember 20 years ago, when virtual-reality was supposed to be right around the corner. It's just now approaching what the experts were touting back then.
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 11, 2008
This is extremely far off still... shouldn't even be news really...
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2008
Hope they'll include the sounds as well. Not another silent movie era.
1 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2008
5 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2008
True VR isn't that far away. You need 1) a way to detect what the brain is trying to do (already exists), 2) a way to impose signals on specific neurons (already exists), and a way to stimulate the part of the brain that cuts off voluntary movement during REM (that unfortunately is a deep structure, so we're not there yet). There's no real basic science left to develop -- it's jus engineering. Since the technology would be very valuable to the two main drivers of information technology -- gaming and porn -- I expect it to be perfected by a week next monday. :-)
4.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2008
not only that, however. The most complex part of VR is not capturing or sending signals, it's finding out what the signals mean and being able to mimic them. So VR is still far off, unless someone starts linking specific pathways in the brain to specific senses (an image of a bird, most likely, should have a completely different signal form that of a plane). It's these little nuance that really make all the difference. And with current research into the field, I'd be surprised if we have 8-bit games in our heads in a decade.
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2008
if they have the ability to "decode"
would they not then have the ability to "encode"
just one more way to program more idiots!~
4.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2008
Actually I would imagine that this may help psychologists or psychiatrists to treat people with sleep disorders or other sicknesses, if they learn how to interpret effectively the dreams using this technology.

Also, it would be interesting to see how that would help the doctors to interpret the mind of a autistic person.

4.5 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2008
The exciting part here is capturing and decoding signals to the brain. There are so many questions - does everyone send the same signals for the same visual input (or within a % of variation), or is everyone unique in their signaling? Is there a pattern/order in which information is sent (distance, size, texture, color, etc.)? Does signaling relate to how the particular brain is constructed? How to distinguish between the various signals received - this part of the signal means this, while that part means that? When we only think of items, are they signaled the same as when we see them?

Lots of questions still, but this sounds very exciting.
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2008
So, if a kid dreams that he's at school naked, and the device records it, is he guilty of child pornography?
5 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2008
So, if a kid dreams that he's at school naked, and the device records it, is he guilty of child pornography?

Wow. Can you say "Thought Police" ?
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2008
This reminds me of Garret Stanley's work at Harvard and Berkeley to extract video from feline brains. See here:

5 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2008
you all have dirty dirty minds... I have proof!
3.5 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2008
Oh goodie, another tool for people to abuse.

I remember the Japanese also invented a device where the person who wore it had no control over his body, and they could remote control the person.
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2008
This is what I've been thinking of since i was probably 6, because I always wanted to see my dreams again once I've woke up.
4 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2008
I'm sorry if I disappoint but if I understand this article correctly we won't actually be able to see what anybody is dreaming. You see, what they are doing is capturing messages from the retina and decoding their neural positioning to construct the image directly from the brain. The problem is that when dreaming, we don't receive any retinal information.

However, if they succeed in tracking the higher functioning concepts of WHAT (objects) we're seeing then we will be able to tell what someone is dreaming about. Unless the visuals of a dream are constructed in exactly the same way visual information is read from sight, then "seeing" a dream would be as difficult as telling somebody a word and "seeing" what it is they picture in they're mind.

Actually seeing an approximation of what they see could be very difficult as it'd probably involve many parts of the brain, especially the parts involving visual and spatial reasoning.
4 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2008
Not quite. They do capture retinal signals, but merely to find out which parts of the brain, and what signals, signify what image. That is, the retinal part of the study is only to determine a pathway. They then use the knowledge of these pathways to try and decode thoughts in the person, and supposedly they managed to get the same letters out and spell the same word.

In a large sense, you are right, but what they are trying to do is find the higher functioning concepts of what the objects they are seeing are. The retina is merely to control what they are decoding (i.e. they know that the signal means "n" or "neuron" or whatever, versus blindly guessing at what it may mean.
not rated yet Dec 13, 2008
Interesting work! If this technology advances, I would imagine that the first group of people to take advantage of this technology is not the porn or gaming industry but the intelligence (i.e. CIA). How? Accessing people's memory of course. We can trigger and record a person's memory by "flashing" the brain with a few familiar images which activates the neural pathways/patterns associate with the images, or in another term "remember". A suspect does not have to be interrogate or question. Just hook him/her up to the machine, show a few pictures of places and/or people and record whatever the suspect "remember" of the places/people and the conversation that took place. This technology can also help people with dementia. Sounds like sci-fi? Well, not for long.
not rated yet Dec 13, 2008
Also see this article:
"US Army Invests in 'Thought Helmet' Technology for Voiceless Communication"
not rated yet Dec 13, 2008
Hey a horrible thought occurred to me... what if bosses use it to monitor how much time you're actually working while in the office!
not rated yet Dec 13, 2008
have you ever thought about living your dreams
it might not be as strange as it seems
traveling into a world you call your own
all by yourself yet never alone
killed ten times and you never die
when your in dreamland you wonder why
a collection of thoughts thru the night
are mass confusion in morning light
if you ever wake up without your head
roll back over because you are dead


not rated yet Dec 15, 2008
I have a question, Would the signal my brain has for the letter "n" be the same as everyone else's ???? Doesn't seem like there would be that kind of uniformity among people.
not rated yet Dec 15, 2008
Nice :) But they didn't mention how individual these signals are. Because if the word "neuron" has only 6 letters and 5 different ones, the brain can think for so many more different things. If you have to see like 5000 pictures in order for this device to work, that's little unpractical. Though, you can have it with you during your day and to have anything you see recorded on a camera. This could be a nice calibration. That device is so exciting!
2 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2008
"We are the Borg. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile."

Mind reading science = Mechanical zombies.
not rated yet Dec 23, 2008
does anyone remeber the movie "brainstorm"
recomended viewing given the subject!

not rated yet Apr 07, 2009
It can't be true.., Send me the exact link of those Japanese researchers.. Only then its worth to believe.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.