Feeds

Mind-reading MRI reads letters in the brain

Reading the reader

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen are claiming that with a sufficiently-sensitive MRI and decent mathematical modelling, they can reconstruct images of the brain recognising letters seen by the test subject.

Specifically, the researchers say they have “used data from the scanner to determine what a test subject is looking at”, according to this release, in a paper to be published in the journal Neuroimage.

“The researchers 'taught' a model how small volumes of 2x2x2 mm from the brain scans – known as voxels – respond to individual pixels. By combining all the information about the pixels from the voxels, it became possible to reconstruct the image viewed by the subject. The result was not a clear image, but a somewhat fuzzy speckle pattern. In this study, the researchers used hand-written letters,” the release states.

After their initial fuzzy pattern, the researchers added prior knowledge of what a letter should look like to the model. The Register can't help wondering if this doesn't sound like “looking up the answer in the back of the book”, so we'll quote the release directly and let you judge:

Scanned word

Seen in the brain: "thought" reconstruction from an MRI

“We gave the model prior knowledge: we taught it what letters look like. This improved the recognition of the letters enormously. The model compares the letters to determine which one corresponds most exactly with the speckle image, and then pushes the results of the image towards that letter. The result was the actual letter, a true reconstruction”, said researcher Marcel van Gerven.

The research aim, van Gerven says, is to find ways to model what the brain is experiencing, so that the models could be applied to “working memory or to subjective experience such as dreams or visualisations”.

The next step in the research is to increase the resolution from the current 1,200 voxels to 15,000 voxels. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.