This is fantastic; Researchers have used an fMRI scanner to map brain activity to “pixel” regions within a viewed image, and then used the map to reconstruct new images being looked at. They go on to suggest that (as brain activity in these regions occurs with both looking at an image and “picturing” it) they will be able to see peoples dreams and hallucinations.

neuron.jpg

from Pink Tentacle via Monochrom:

The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.