“Glass brain” software lets you see your thoughts

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

glass brain image
I see why they call it a glass brain!

What goes on inside your brain as you solve a really hard math problem, or watch a really funny movie? In the past, researchers might have measured electrical brain activity or scanned a patient’s head to find out. Now, neuroscientists are teaming up with software companies to create a “glass brain” – special software that lets a person see their thoughts as they think them.

In order to create such a system, researchers combined 3 basic elements. The first was something known as an electroencephalogram, which is a machine that records electrical activity in the brain using a special cap. The second was a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, which is capable of taking 3D models of a person’s brain. This detailed picture of the brain is necessary for the third basic part of the project, which is a special visual headset that can display virtual reality – computer simulations of an environment with digital enhancements.

Taken together, these devices can display a person’s brain activity in real time! Keep in mind that it does not reveal their thoughts, only what areas of their brain are active at any given moment. However, there are entire fields of study dedicated to knowing what parts of the brain are responsible for what, so you can make a pretty good guess!

The inventors are sure their device will come in handy for showing head injury or trauma patients how their brains have been affected, and possibly how to heal.

Featured image courtesy of Neuroscape Lab. Image of virtual brain courtesy of Neuroscape Lab on YouTube.