Reading Mind Technology
What if Mind reading turns out to be a reality then days are not too far when our Smartphone will not of any use. Because then people would be able to connect with others through their minds. It is not fake but reality that many scientists have been working towards decoding the mind and thoughts of human.
Researchers and scientists have already achieved the success in understanding the Physical structure and chemical workings of the brain and now they are after solving the mysteries to understand the intent of the human, what people dream about and what makes them psychopath. I would like to throw some light on the kind of researches and inventions that have been done past years which are contributing towards decoding the mind and thoughts.
Researchers from University of California, Berkley have invented a Brain Decoder Device. This brain decoder device is able to analyze what you are thinking based on neuron activity inside the brain. Researchers have invited the tests subjects to read a passage of text out loud and then reading the same passage in their mind and then they compared the brain activity to look for the linked patterns. If the technique gets further improvised then it can become boon for those who have lost their ability to speak. And with the power of mind working wonders, we will be able to control the devices such as Smartphone, computers and other devices with our mind. “If you’re reading text in a newspaper or a book, you hear a voice in your own head,” the University’s Brian Pasley told New Scientist. “We’re trying to decode the brain activity related to that voice to create a medical prosthesis that can allow someone who is paralyzed or locked in to speak.” Pasley and his team based their work around the hypothesis that hearing words in our head causes the same kind of brain activity as hearing them spoken. The sophisticated hardware is under developmental stage and requires being more accurate so it can be utilized out of the lab. The subject is observed carefully and algorithms underpinning the system vary from person to person.
Even Japanese researchers are not behind in evolving this technology. They have developed the mind reading device as well that decipher words from brainwaves without them being spoken. They were able to identify the words such as ‘goo’, ‘scissors’ and ‘par’ when spoken in Japanese. They can identify the brain waves related with syllables or letters hence ensuring the possibility of decoding entire words and sentences without the need for any of them being physically spoken. Researchers used a method to listen to the unspoken word called Electroencephalogram or EEG. The technology records the electrical activity from the brain using an array of electrodes on the scalp to detect the brain waves. The team focused on a part of the brain known as Broca’s area, which is thought to be involved in language processing and speech. Lead author Professor Yamazaki Toshimasa, an expert in brain computer interfaces at Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, and his team asked 12 men, women and children to recite a series of words, measuring their brainwaves as they did so. They found each syllable produced a distinct brain wave activity from the initial thought to the actual utterance. Activity could be seen up to two seconds before a word was spoken. By compiling a database of different sounds, the researchers found it is possible to match these brainwave patterns to words, even if they are not spoken.
Not only this, scientists are developing the technique to control the channels on your TV. For this, they are developing headsets that can read your brainwaves to change the channels.
Researchers from Birmingham University have devised a way to verify the person’s identity 2 years ago. The researchers observed the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD, and recorded the brain’s reaction to each group of letters, focusing on the part of the brain associated with reading and recognizing words. Turns out, participants’ brains reacted differently to each acronym — so much so that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer with 94 percent accuracy.
Yukiyasu Kamitani and his team at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, have been able to identify what subjects were dreaming about. They use fMRI (functional MRI), which measures brain activity by picking up on the magnetic properties of hemoglobin that vary with blood oxygenation. Scientists have made some startling breakthroughs in reproducing our thoughts on a screen and delving into what motivates us to do the things we do. The subjects are put into fMRI machine and woken up just as they were drifting off. They then reported what they had been dreaming about. A database was created from the information, and using machine-learning algorithm and a visual-imagery decoder, scientists were able to identify what the subjects were dreaming about in subsequent scans.
Can you imagine that your imagination can also be traced on the screen? Participants imagine forming letters and recorded the patterns of their brains made while they did it. Researchers used this information along with the algorithms and translated it into Pixels thus they were able to reconstruct the actual images of the Participants imagination.
fMRI technology has even enabled researchers to understand the People’s reaction towards the specific products without even their need of uttering the words. The company uses fMRI to assess their feelings about products, packaging, advertising, and even smell.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding an initiative where they can hack the mind of the veterans and service members and help them in treating their mental illness and addictions.
Since reading mind is taking a shape of reality, there are few things that we should consider from right now and even start researching on it. It is security of your thoughts, your imagination. In the near future, we may have to find the potential way to secure our mind from unwanted access to information that we have in our mind. I do not blame on technology as it has many advantages if used in proper way but I can blame those users who can misuse it. The technologies like fMRI enable the researchers to understand patterns of prefrontal cortex activity before they took the action, were able to decode what they were about to do. That means in future someone can understand our intent even before we perform any action. It will more become spying on our secret thoughts and our thoughts will no longer be private. Our mind is full of innovative ideas and one would never want that someone hack or decode those ideas for their own benefit.
I think it’s a high time that techies & researchers must also start thinking about solution that can secure our valuable mind against misuse of such technologies.