Jack Into A Cat's Brain

What is the Matrix? In this case, it is a 64x64 array produced by linear decoding, that reconstructs spatiotemporal visual inputs from ensemble responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of sharp-eyed cats. From the responses of 177 brain cells, they were able to reconstruct time-varying natural scenes with recognizable moving objects.


(From Cat Brain Video - bottom set)

In this 1999 study, Garett B. Stanley, Fei F. Li and Yang Dan have literally jacked into the mind of a cat. Multiple cells in the LGN of anesthetized cats were recorded simultaneously with multielectrodes. The spike trains of the neurons were binned according to the frame rate of the stimulus (32 Hz for movies, 128 Hz for white noise) and converted to firing rate signals. They recorded the responses of the cells to multiple repeats of eight short movies, and these data were used for subsequent analyses. The geniculate cells were well driven by the movie stimuli, as indicated by their mean firing rates, which were higher during movie presentation than in the absence of visual stimuli.


(From Cat Brain Neuron Set)

When science fiction fans think about examples in which one person can directly experience (or see) and record the internal experience of another person, they usually think about Neuromancer, the 1984 novel by William Gibson. In the novel, he refers to simstim:

Cowboys didn't get into simstim, he thought, because it was basically a meat toy. He knew that ... the cyberspace matrix was actually a drastic simplification of the human sensorium, at least in terms of presentation, but simstim itself struck him as a gratuitous multiplication of flesh input.

The cyberspace matrix, according to the book, "has its roots in primitive arcade games... in early graphics programs and military experimentation with cranial jacks."

As far as I know, the first science fiction author to describe a mechanical process for viewing and recording the thoughts of another person (as opposed to a purely mental "ability" - namely, telepathy) was Cordwainer Smith. In his 1958 story No, No, Not Rogov!, he writes about an espionage machine that can let one person see the thoughts of another:

He had then turned away from the reception of pure thought to the reception of visual and auditory images. Where the nerve-ends reached the brain itself, he had managed over the years to distinguish whole packets of microphenomena, and on some of these he had managed to get a fix.
(Read more about the espionage machine)

Read more from the orginal paper (Reconstruction of Natural Scenes from Ensemble Responses in the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus - pdf); original post at Extracting video from cat brains. Thanks to alert reader Justin Kennedy for pointing this story out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/6/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.

Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.' - Gregory Benford, 1983.

New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Trash Sorting AI Robot Presages Skynet, Thanks A Lot
Keep your head down, Kyle Reese.

Electric Unicycle Is A Tumblebug
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'

reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'

Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'

Medical Assistant Robot May Roam The Halls Of Hospitals
'Take care, sir.'

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'

Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...'

Amplified Nerves Lead To Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hands
'The electrical impulses generated by your brain command everything...'

FlyCroTug Micro Drones Do Heavy Lifting
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock on...'

Virtual Whitney Houston In Concert
Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.