Now, virtual reality system lets you explore your brain

Written by PTI | New York | Updated: Mar 13 2014, 02:08am hrs
Scientists have developed a new system that may one day allow you to explore your brain in virtual reality and watch your thoughts flash before your eyes in real-time.

The system combines brain scanning, brain recording and virtual reality to allow a user to journey through a person's brain in real-time.

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The system was developed by neuroscientists Tim Mullen and Christian Kothe of the University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with the lab of Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, using a virtual reality headset made by the gaming company Oculus Rift.

The "glass brain" was demonstrated at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival in Austin, Texas on March 10.

"We've never been able to step inside the structures [of the brain] and see it in this way. It's biofeedback on the next level," Gazzaley said.

The brain in the demo belonged to Rosedale's wife Yvette, who was wearing a cap studded with electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes that measure differences in electric potential in order to record brain activity, 'LiveScience' reported.

Gazzaley's team had previously scanned Yvette's brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal its underlying structure and tangle of neural fibres.

Rosedale wore a virtual reality headset through which he could explore his wife's brain in 3D, as flashes of light displayed her brain activity from the EEG.

A projection screen showed a similar view to the audience.

The glass brain didn't actually show what Yvette was thinking the EEG signals merely painted a picture of her brain activity more broadly.

But the researchers ultimately hope to get closer to decoding brain signals and displaying them using the virtual reality system.