Scientists use an MRI and math to film those movies in your head

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2012

Have you ever wondered what someone else was thinking? You might not have to wonder much longer. Scientists were able to reconstruct movie trailers from their subjects' minds with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and some serious math.

According to Science Daily, three volunteers from the research team at the University of California, Berkeley, were shown two sets of movie trailers while lying in an MRI machine (for hours on end). After the fMRI measured the amount of blood the occipitotemporal visual cortex was receiving in the first set of trailers, the scientists created a model to determine how the visual information corresponded to the activity in the brain.

The second set of clips tested "the movie reconstruction algorithm." Science Daily wrote:

This was done by feeding 18 million seconds of random YouTube videos into the computer program so that it could predict the brain activity that each film clip would most likely evoke in each subject.

Finally, the 100 clips that the computer program decided were most similar to the clip that the subject had probably seen were merged to produce a blurry yet continuous reconstruction of the original movie.

This is remarkable news, and not just because it'll help us learn what that hot barista really thinks of us. This technology might help us communicate with people in comas, stroke victims or even "locked in" patients.

Of course, this mind-reading ability isn't perfect, as you'll see from the clip below. But it's the closest to telepathy that we can come without a superpower.

(via ScienceDaily)