A thought recording and reproduction device refers to any machine which is able to both directly record and reproduce, via a brain-computer interface, the thoughts, emotions, dreams or other neural/cognitive events of a subject for that or other subjects to experience. While currently residing within mostly fictional displays of the capacity of such devices, the idea has received increased scientific currency since the development of the first BCI-enabled devices.
The term oneirography, referring to the recording of dreams, is also a synonym for the above
This hypothetical technology is a key element in some of the early short stories of William Gibson, including his 1977 debut Fragments of a Hologram Rose, where it is called ASP (Apparent Sensory Perception). In his Sprawl trilogy, it is termed Simstim (Simulation Stimulation), and described as the most popular form of entertainment, perhaps equivalent to 20th century pop music. Whereas most instances depict a heavily edited documentary version, replaying an approximation of the actual experience of the person recorded, in The Winter Market a version able to record dreams and imaginations exists.
A number of films from the 1980s onwards, such as Brainstorm (1983), Until the End of the World (1991), Strange Days (1995), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), and Sleep Dealer (2008), depict the technology and its ramifications.
In December 2008, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International's Department of Cognitive Neuroscience announced its own research into the translation of neural signals into images.In addition, Dr. Moran Cerf of UCLA published a 2010 paper for Nature which claimed that he and other fellow researchers were on the cusp of being able to allow psychologists to interpret thoughts by corroborating people's recollections of their dream with an electronic visualization of their brain activity. The research outcome has often been popularized as a device that could record dreams. However, Moran Cerf says he never made that claim and only said that such a device is a theoretical possibility.
BCI devices currently are able to translate a limited subset of neural signals into digital signals, most of which are utilized for motor-centric controls of attached devices. The translation of images which are perceived or conceived within the brain has not yet been fully achieved.
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind and its processes. It examines the nature, the tasks, and the functions of cognition. Cognitive scientists study intelligence and behavior, with a focus on how nervous systems represent, process, and transform information. Mental faculties of concern to cognitive scientists include language, perception, memory, attention, reasoning, and emotion; to understand these faculties, cognitive scientists borrow from fields such as linguistics, psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, and anthropology. The typical analysis of cognitive science spans many levels of organization, from learning and decision to logic and planning; from neural circuitry to modular brain organization. One of the fundamental concepts of cognitive science is that "thinking can best be understood in terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that operate on those structures."
A mental image or mental picture is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of visually perceiving some object, event, or scene, but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses. There are sometimes episodes, particularly on falling asleep and waking up (hypnopompic), when the mental imagery, being of a rapid, phantasmagoric and involuntary character, defies perception, presenting a kaleidoscopic field, in which no distinct object can be discerned. Mental imagery can sometimes produce the same effects as would be produced by the behavior or experience imagined.
A brain-computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a neural-control interface (NCI), mind-machine interface (MMI), direct neural interface (DNI), or brain-machine interface (BMI), is a direct communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device. BCI differs from neuromodulation in that it allows for bidirectional information flow. BCIs are often directed at researching, mapping, assisting, augmenting, or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions.
BrainGate is a brain implant system built and previously owned by Cyberkinetics, currently under development and in clinical trials, designed to help those who have lost control of their limbs, or other bodily functions, such as patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury. The Braingate technology and related Cyberkinetic’s assets are now owned by privately held Braingate, Co. The sensor, which is implanted into the brain, monitors brain activity in the patient and converts the intention of the user into computer commands.
Auditory imagery is a form of mental imagery that is used to organise and analyse sounds when there is no external auditory stimulus present. This form of imagery is broken up into a couple of auditory modalities such as verbal imagery or musical imagery. This modality of mental imagery differs from other sensory images such as motor imagery or visual imagery. The vividness and detail of auditory imagery can vary from person-to-person depending on their background and condition of their brain. Through all of the research developed to understand auditory imagery behavioral neuroscientists have found that the auditory images developed in subjects' minds are generated in real time and consist of fairly precise information about quantifiable auditory properties as well as melodic and harmonic relationships. These studies have been able to recently gain confirmation and recognition due to the arrival of Positron emission tomography and fMRI scans that can confirm a physiological and psychological correlation.
Brain implants, often referred to as neural implants, are technological devices that connect directly to a biological subject's brain – usually placed on the surface of the brain, or attached to the brain's cortex. A common purpose of modern brain implants and the focus of much current research is establishing a biomedical prosthesis circumventing areas in the brain that have become dysfunctional after a stroke or other head injuries. This includes sensory substitution, e.g., in vision. Other brain implants are used in animal experiments simply to record brain activity for scientific reasons. Some brain implants involve creating interfaces between neural systems and computer chips. This work is part of a wider research field called brain-computer interfaces.
Neuroprosthetics is a discipline related to neuroscience and biomedical engineering concerned with developing neural prostheses. They are sometimes contrasted with a brain–computer interface, which connects the brain to a computer rather than a device meant to replace missing biological functionality.
Neural oscillations, or brainwaves, are rhythmic or repetitive patterns of neural activity in the central nervous system. Neural tissue can generate oscillatory activity in many ways, driven either by mechanisms within individual neurons or by interactions between neurons. In individual neurons, oscillations can appear either as oscillations in membrane potential or as rhythmic patterns of action potentials, which then produce oscillatory activation of post-synaptic neurons. At the level of neural ensembles, synchronized activity of large numbers of neurons can give rise to macroscopic oscillations, which can be observed in an electroencephalogram. Oscillatory activity in groups of neurons generally arises from feedback connections between the neurons that result in the synchronization of their firing patterns. The interaction between neurons can give rise to oscillations at a different frequency than the firing frequency of individual neurons. A well-known example of macroscopic neural oscillations is alpha activity.
Neural binding is the neuroscientific aspect of what is commonly known as the binding problem. The Binding Problem is the interdisciplinary difficulty of creating a comprehensive and verifiable model for the unity of consciousness. "Binding" refers to the integration of highly diverse neural information in the forming of one's cohesive experience. The neural binding hypothesis states that neural signals are paired through synchronized oscillations of neuronal activity that combine and recombine to allow for a wide variety of responses to context-dependent stimuli. These dynamic neural networks are thought to account for the flexibility and nuanced response of the brain to various situations. The coupling of these networks is transient, on the order of milliseconds, and allows for rapid activity.
In neuroscience, single-unit recordings provide a method of measuring the electro-physiological responses of single neurons using a microelectrode system. When a neuron generates an action potential, the signal propagates down the neuron as a current which flows in and out of the cell through excitable membrane regions in the soma and axon. A microelectrode is inserted into the brain, where it can record the rate of change in voltage with respect to time. These microelectrodes must be fine-tipped, low-impedance conductors; they are primarily glass micro-pipettes, metal microelectrodes made of platinum, tungsten, iridium or even iridium oxide. Microelectrodes can be carefully placed close to the cell membrane, allowing the ability to record extracellularly.
Electrocorticography (ECoG), or intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG), is a type of electrophysiological monitoring that uses electrodes placed directly on the exposed surface of the brain to record electrical activity from the cerebral cortex. In contrast, conventional electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes monitor this activity from outside the skull. ECoG may be performed either in the operating room during surgery or outside of surgery. Because a craniotomy is required to implant the electrode grid, ECoG is an invasive procedure.
Neuroergonomics is the application of neuroscience to ergonomics. Traditional ergonomic studies rely predominantly on psychological explanations to address human factors issues such as: work performance, operational safety, and workplace-related risks. Neuroergonomics, in contrast, addresses the biological substrates of ergonomic concerns, with an emphasis on the role of the human nervous system.
Brain-reading or thought identification uses the responses of multiple voxels in the brain evoked by stimulus then detected by fMRI in order to decode the original stimulus. Advances in research have made this possible by using human neuroimaging to decode a person's conscious experience based on non-invasive measurements of an individual's brain activity. Brain reading studies differ in the type of decoding employed, the target, and the decoding algorithms employed.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain. It is typically noninvasive, with the electrodes placed along the scalp, although invasive electrodes are sometimes used, as in electrocorticography, sometimes called intracranial EEG.
Consumer neuroscience is the combination of consumer research with modern neuroscience. The goal of the field is to find neural explanations for consumer behaviors in individuals both with or without disease.
Neuroscience of free will, a part of neurophilosophy, is the study of topics related to free will using neuroscience, and the analysis of how findings from such studies may impact the free will debate.
Imagined speech is thinking in the form of sound – “hearing” one’s own voice silently to oneself, without the intentional movement of any extremities such as the lips, tongue, or hands. Logically, imagined speech has been possible since the emergence of language, however, the phenomenon is most associated with the signal processing and detection within electroencephalograph (EEG) data as well as data obtained using alternative non-invasive, brain–computer interface (BCI) devices.
Stentrode is a small stent-mounted electrode array that is permanently implanted into a blood vessel in the brain without the need for open brain surgery. It is being developed to hopefully function as a brain–computer interface (BCI) for people with paralyzed or missing limbs, who will use their neural signals or thoughts to control powered exoskeletons and robotic prosthesis.
A cortical implant is a subset of neuroprosthetics that is in direct connection with the cerebral cortex of the brain. By directly interfacing with different regions of the cortex, the cortical implant can provide stimulation to an immediate area and provide different benefits, depending on its design and placement. A typical cortical implant is an implantable microelectrode array, which is a small device through which a neural signal can be received or transmitted.
Moran Cerf is a French-Israeli neuroscientist, assistant professor of business, investor and a former hacker.
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