We’re now one step closer to being able to take photographs with our minds. Scientists at UC Berkeley have come up with a way to reconstruct what the human brain sees:
[Subjects] watched two separate sets of Hollywood movie trailers
[...] brain activity recorded while subjects viewed the first set of clips was fed into a computer program that learned, second by second, to associate visual patterns in the movie with the corresponding brain activity.
Brain activity evoked by the second set of clips was used to test the movie reconstruction algorithm. 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. [#]
Unlike the cat brain research video we shared a while back, the resulting imagery in this project isn’t directly generated from brain signals but is instead reconstructed from YouTube clips similar to what the person is thinking. They’re still calling it a “major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery” though. In the future this technology might be used to record not just our visual memories, but even our dreams!
Here’s a mind-bending video in which someone created the famous checker shadow illusion in real life. The optical illusion takes advantage of the way our brains process lighting and shadows.
As with many so-called illusions, this effect really demonstrates the success rather than the failure of the visual system. The visual system is not very good at being a physical light meter, but that is not its purpose. The important task is to break the image information down into meaningful components, and thereby perceive the nature of the objects in view. [#]
Interesting huh? Our eyes aren’t very good as a light meters, since they’re easily deceived by context. Read more…
Update: It looks like the video was taken down by the uploader. Sorry guys.
Color is simply how our brains respond to different wavelengths of light, and wavelengths outside the spectrum of visible light are invisible and colorless to us simply because our eyes can’t detect them. Since colors are created in our brains, what if we all see colors differently from one another? BBC created a fascinating program called “Do You See What I See?” that explores this question, and the findings are pretty startling. Read more…
As the low-light capabilities of high-end (and even low-end) cameras rapidly improve, it’s easy to marvel at technology and forget how amazing our own eyes are, but here are some mind-boggling facts to consider: did you know that the human eye can detect as few as two photons entering the retina, and that, under ideal conditions, a healthy young adult can see a candle flame from 30 miles away? To see how mind-boggling that is, try using Google Maps to find a location 30-miles away from where you live.