developments in the world of peering into people's skulls, reported over at New
In an impressive feat of mind-reading, US-based boffins Yukiyasu Kamitani and Frank Tong used non-invasive functional MRI scanning of the bonce to work out what a person was looking at. Not a playing card, sadly, but an image of parallel lines in one of eight different orientations. By focusing on brain regions responsible for visual perception they were able to tell which pattern the victims were viewing.
Meanwhile UK-based egg-heads John-Dylan Haynes and Geraint Rees used the same scanning technique, but showed two images in quick succession to their human guinea pigs, with the first flashing up too quickly to be consciously perceived. But the scans were quicker than the mind, and allowed the boffins to tell which image had been shown, even though the subjects weren't able to say.
Fortunately with current technology it's pretty obvious when you're being scanned, given that it involves sticking your head inside what looks like an industrial dry-cleaning machine. But in the future, who knows how compact an fMRI scanner might become, nor what devices it might surreptitiously be added to, so that giant corporates can tell what we're all thinking. Come the year 2020, Sneak for one will not be buying an Apple iHeadband, Nokia CommunicatorCap, or Microsoft SkullClamp, that's for sure.
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