The research carried out at the University of Toronto Scarborough seems to come from a science fiction book. The researchers wanted to look inside a “brain” to see what the brain was seeing, i.e. the image the eyes of that person were transmitting to the brain.
The results have been published on an article on eNeuro reporting for the first time the ability to reconstruct an image seeing by a person’s eyes by looking at the EEG (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) wavy lines.
The researchers (see the clip) sat a person in front of a screen displaying images of faces. A computer was trained to match the electrical signals captured by the EEG with the various images. Then the computer was asked to reconstruct the images based on the electrical activities.
This is the first time that an EEG is used to look inside the brain to see what that person is looking at.
As you can see in the figure, the reconstruction is not precise but it is anyhow impressive. Also notice that we are quite far from really seeing what a person is seeing by just looking at that person EEG. A long, and specific training is needed to let the computer associate specific signals to image characteristics. Besides, the brain will generate completely different signals if it were looking to a shoe instead of a face (it does not work by pixels like our digital camera, a brain works mostly on semantics, a face and a shoe have completely different meanings).
Additionally, notice that the training is specific to the person, that is once you have trained the computer on that person brain you cannot use the computer to look inside a different brain (and most likely it will not work after a month since in the meantime the brain will have changed its way of processing that image).
Still, it remains a quite amazing result!