University of California Berkeley | Scientists reconstruct video using brain waves

September 23, 2011

Gallant Lab at University of California Berkeley | The left clip is a segment of a Hollywood movie trailer that the subject viewed while in the magnet. The right clip shows the reconstruction of this segment from brain activity measured using fMRI.

The procedure is as follows:

  • [1] Record brain activity while the subject watches several hours of movie trailers.
  • [2] Build dictionaries (i.e., regression models) that translate between the shapes, edges and motion in the movies and measured brain activity. A separate dictionary is constructed for each of several thousand points at which brain activity was measured. (The real advance of this study was the construction of a movie-to-brain activity encoding model that accurately predicts brain activity evoked by arbitrary novel movies.)
  • [3] Record brain activity to a new set of movie trailers that will be used to test the quality of the dictionaries and reconstructions.
  • [4] Build a random library of ~18,000,000 seconds (5000 hours) of video downloaded at random from YouTube. (Note these videos have no overlap with the movies that subjects saw in the MRI machine). Put each of these clips through the dictionaries to generate predictions of brain activity. Select the 100 clips whose predicted activity is most similar to the observed brain activity. Average these clips together. This is the reconstruction.

For the paper (Nishimoto et al., 2011, Current Biology) click here.

Gather |  Scientists at Gallant Lab, UC Berkeley have created a computer program that can translate brain wave patterns into a moving image. They call it “Natural Movies.” Debate about this technology centers on helping disabled people, but side benefits may help law enforcement and researchers studying dreams. This is the first time a moving image generated by the human brain has been captured, encoded and reproduced electronically.


Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley YouTube channel
Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley
“How to make movies of what the brain sees”
Gather | “UC Berkeley invents Mind reading machine called ‘natural movies’”

Source: Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley