I did read this thread, but http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=12040
I’m curious if brainwaves can be translated into pictures, which would allow the actual technology to be created. And it not brainwaves, is there any other possible way to paint a picture, so to speak, of a dream.
While I don’t hold much hope that this will ever be possible, I think it would be a great technological advance, since if it were possible, it would make things like decoding animals and babies thoughts possible, too.
So, can anyone explain if brainwaves can be translated to a degree to form images of what a thought or dream is, or not?
Yes, to some degree it is possible to reconstruct a visual image from impulses in the brain. This paper (in pdf form) describes just such an experiment in which images were recovered from the brain of a cat as it saw them.
Here are a few of those images.
The main problem with this is that it does require electrodes to be inserted in the brain of the subject, so it’s not exactly something you’d do for fun. The images recovered are also not particularly good quality, but good enough to be recognised. As a proof of concept, it’s quite good, but as an approach to something practical, I don’t know how useful this technique will be.
Also, dreams probably do NOT produce the same sort of activity as actual sight. Rather than responding to visual stimulus in dreams, you perceive without that stimulus. Sort of a recognition without something being there to recognise. I’d wager it’s entirely possible that little or no information about the dream would be recovered if you stick strictly to the visual perception system.
(if this is double posted, it’s because it came back “cannot find server”).
Did anyone see the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World? In it a mad scientist (Max von Sydow) invents a way to record dreams. They are shown in splotches of bright colors in the cinematography. The heroine gets so engrossed in replaying and viewing her dreams over and over that she becomes lost in dreamland and it takes a couple Australian Aborigines to dream her out of it.