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0312ctt-Glass-Brain-lores

Published on March 16th, 2014 | By: Jessica McMathis

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Mind readers: ‘Glass brain’ makes big debut at SXSW, but does it actually reveal our thoughts?

Published on March 16th, 2014 | By: Jessica McMathis

 

The “glass brain” showcased at the SXSW Interactive festival provides a crystal-clear picture of what’s happening in our heads. Credit: neuroscapelab on YouTube.

 

At one point or another, we’ve all wished it were possible to read minds—think pets, partners, potential employers.

 

Those “if-onlys” could fall by the wayside if the “glass brain” showcased at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival finds worldwide acceptance.

 

The brainchild (get it?) of “Second Life” creator Philip Rosedale and University of California San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, the system “combines brain scanning, brain recording, and virtual reality to allow a user to journey through a person’s brain in realtime.”

 

The duo demonstrated their work at last week’s SXSW (where “Cosmos”-reboot host and science rockstar Neil deGrasse Tyson offered up 10 keynote quotables) by projecting the brain of Rosedale’s wife Yvette on the big screen.

 

After donning an electrode-clad cap, MRI and 3D imagery produce a rainbow of color (i.e., brain activity) that doesn’t reveal the actual thoughts of the wearer, but provides a broader picture of what’s happening inside our (and Yvette’s) heads.

 

According to the Neurospace Lab, headed by Gazzaley, “Each color represents source power and connectivity in a different frequency band (theta, alpha, beta, gamma) and the golden lines are white matter anatomical fiber tracts. Estimated information transfer between brain regions is visualized as pulses of light flowing along the fiber tracts connecting the regions.”

 

And though it’s not made of actual glass, the “anatomically-realistic 3D brain visualization” could provide assistance in investigating and understanding traumatic brain injuries and a host of other neurological problems.

 

Check out the video above and let us know if you agree with fellow editor April who asks, “What good is it if it doesn’t let you read thoughts? Come on—we need superhero powers.”

 

 

Feature Image Credit: neuroscapelab on YouTube.


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