Monthly Archives: September 2011

Seeing what the brain sees.

Recently Berkley scientists used fMRI data to reconstruct images processed by the brain by using YouTube videos to build a computer vision model. Linked above are some of the reconstructions they’ve made using this process.

In 2008, the lab published that they’ve learned how to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect images being processed by the brain (2008 paper here)
But how do you turn raw neuronal activity signals into an actual image? In the case of Jack Gallant’s neuroscience lab they contructed a vision model on a computer using a library of YouTube videos. A subject would watch a video, their brain activity would be measured, and that data would be used as part of a dataset for correlating a certain type of brain activity to a certain type of video. Then when the subject watched a novel video that the computer hasn’t seen before, the computer would read the brain activity and superimpose the population of videos that correlate to the neuronal signals.

It’s quite striking how well their model works. With unlimited computing power and an even bigger video library such reconstruced visions could become incredibly detailed.

This isn’t the first time scientists have been able to metaphorically see through someone else’s eyes. Ten years ago experiements, also performed at Berkley, were done with cats (link 1, link 2) in which electrode arrays were placed in the thalamus of a live cat and the measured neuronal activity was processed into an image.
Below is a video showing some of the moving recontructed images obtained from a cat’s brain. Note that it may be grotesque so some people – it contains invasive electrophysiology in a live animal. It’s also creepy in how the cat’s thalamic visual processing interprets human faces at catman faces.


So my buddies down at Megasteakman have uncovered some deleted scenes from George Lucus’ endless reimaginings of the Star Wars Franchise. Yes, it’s all about the No’s. The guys at Megasteakman are longtime friends of mine, and they’re committing to a fairly rigorous schedule of releasing videos, so I’ll be reposting them here as they come. Be sure to check out their old videos for fun like laser tits and even more boobs.

On the topic of youtube vids I’d also like to talk about:


Featuring Mike Diva and his brand of high octane dubstep special effects malestrom. I’m really amazed at his ability to include dubstep in every video he makes with the exception of the (non-dubstep) music videos he does. That being said the Dubstep Guns video is really a marvel. I had to watch it with a stuttering connection and even the freeze frames of the dubrays were fairly glorious.


NYTimes reports of new advancements in telekinesis, of the electronic kind, of course.

New developments in electroencephalography suggest that Army (yes, you military giants with seemingly incalculable budgets for all kinds of nifty and equally frightening toys) has been developing an implant that would allow the users to program and use electronic devices in their near surroundings.

The probe would be burred in the patients skull, and is a dime-sized widget with an antennae.

This a la Matrix implant would allow users to telepathically control devices, which while giving hope to millions of potato couches everywhere, also may provide some well-deserved respite for those who are paraplegic or suffer from paralysis.

Read more here:

LEGO electrophoresis

Gel electrophoresis is a molecular biology technique that is often used to visualize, purify, or separate DNA based on the size of the DNA molecules inside a solution. It uses an electric current to force charged DNA molecules to migrate through a porous gel that restricts the DNA strand’s movement based on the size of the strand.

And now it’s in LEGO. These are images of an electrophoresis apparatus made out of LEGO blocks. Unlike Lt.Cmdr Data it’s not fully functional though – it would have to be modified to include electrodes. You’d have to drill a few holes into the LEGOs, but you could have your own electrophoresis apparatus for the price of a few plastic blocks.

Back to the Future 2 running shoes

It’s the future and now we finally have the appropriate footware. Nike is releasing a line of running shoes inspired by the futuristic running shoes that Marty McFly uses in Back to the Future part 2. It’s not quite the hoverboard we were all waiting for, but rumor has it that it has power laces – laces that tighten themselves – in addition to all the blinking lights.

Good to see that we’re finally living in the future and that all those problems of the past have been settled. Libyans? We’ll never have to hear about them anymore. Power crisis? Thing of the past what with the cold fusion using garbage fuel and all. I think Nike just trolls us every ten years or so by dropping some weird novelty shoe on us and then laughing as we buy it and as kids in the 3rd world labor away to make them. I couldn’t afford the Nike pump shoes back in the 90’s, but if I could have then I should have bought a pair and kept it behind glass as a historical example of the stuff people will buy. Whereas kids thought the pumps were cool for awhile (note that I have never seen any of them actually pump their shoes before exercise – actually using the pump ability would have just been ridiculous) I can’t imagine the Marty McFly shoes being popular amongst anyone but nostalgic 80’s hipsters. That being said the only logical explanation is that it’s all just a joke. I can appreciate Nike’s humor, but the joke comes with the stinging reminder of all the great fantasies that failed to materialize in our future of today. Well, I guess one of the 80’s era fantasies about the post-2000 age came true:

My question about the teledildonics hardware and software is that if you stick the dildo into the fleshlight ring can you get them to stimulate each other such that the AI will have sex with itself? Will it become self-aware?