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DREAM WORKS | Take The Red Pill

December 25, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

matrix_wideweb__430x326.jpgIn a stunning development, a Japanese computational neuroscience company has been able to project on screen images taken directly from the human brain. The technology works by capturing the electrical signals that are, sent from the eye's retina to the brain's visual cortex.

For the experiment, the researchers first figured out people's individual brain patterns by showing them some 400 different still images and then showed the people the six letters in the word "neuron". They then succeeded in reconstructing the letters on a computer screen by measuring their brain activity. While this may seem simple stuff to begin with, the next logical step in the technology is being able to replay subjective moving imagery that people perceive as dreams. And since what's seen on a monitor can be recorded to disk, we can in the future expect to have digitised copies of our dreams, which can be played any number of times. For behavioural scientists who've been struggling to unlock the mysteries of the sleeping mind for over a century now, this should come as a breakthrough in the study of the unconscious.

An even more fascinating development, however, could take place when scientists are able to reverse the process because, essentially, what can be downloaded can also be uploaded. For the brain to be able to recognise the word 'neuron' for instance, the eyes would not be needed if the same electrical signals can be sent to the visual cortex directly. Similarly, instead of seeing one's dream on screen, one could have the whole recorded imagery uploaded and experienced as a dream again. This would also result in tremendous spin-off value for such other dream merchants like film-makers and video game producers. As mentioned here earlier, a dream is the ultimate immersive virtual reality experience where suspension of disbelief is unquestioned and total.

Seeing the movie 'Matrix' for example on screen no matter how absorbing it is would not even begin to compare with perceiving it as a dream because it would be the same as actually being in 'Matrix' for as long as it runs. And, who knows, perhaps interactive film-makers of the future might even reserve small cameo roles for those who've always dreamed to be in films and want to act out that fantasy with complete conviction.

[via The Times of India]

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