A Japanese research team says it has created a technology that could eventually display dreams or what people have on their minds on a computer screen.
Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories succeeded in processing and displaying images directly from the human brain, they said in a study unveiled ahead of publication in the US magazine Neuron.
While the team for now has managed to reproduce only simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to figure out dreams and other secrets inside people's minds.
"It was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity," the private institute said.
"By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams."
When people look at an object, the eye's retina recognises an image that is converted into electrical signals which go into the brain's visual cortex.
The team, led by chief researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani, succeeded in catching the signals and then reconstructing what people see.
In their experiment, the researchers showed people the six letters in the word "neuron"and then succeeded in reconstructing the letters on a computer screen by measuring their brain activity.
The team said that it first figured out people's individual brain patterns by showing them some 400 different still images.