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 ")

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' -

Worms Eat Plastic Now
'Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased...' - Davis/Pedlar, 1971.

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.' - Peter Watts, 1999.

NASA's Prototype Lunar Greenhouse For Mars And Moon
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

 

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

Biggest HiSeas 'Mars Mission' Problem? No Internet
I think sf writers have this covered!

Clever Electric Truck Generates More Power Than It Uses
Better than a fictional electrotruck!

Eden-ISS, Greenhouse In Antarctica
'With this kind of light we could get the gardens going again."

Make Space Tools On The Spot (Like Moties)
'A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon...'

Will Robots Be Moral If We Raise Them Like Our Children?
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Foldable Galaxy Phones, I Swear They're Coming (Maybe)
How hard can it be?

Bacteria Behave Differently In Space
'The Republic struggled to control its Sours...'

Brain Connected To Internet - ‘Brainternet'
Fascinating!

Artificial Spider Silk
You can also use it to make a roof - on an asteroid.

MIT Tunes Ions For Frictionless Surface - Superlubricity!
'My telelubricator here neutralizes the interatomic bonds the surface of any solid...'

Seiko Astron Always Knows Your Time Zone
'Harrington glanced at his wrist watch - a bulky affair - and whistled.'

Robot Buddhist Priest Chants, Drums
'He crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth...'

Koniku Kore, Mouse Brain-Based Chip, Detects Explosives
'As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever.'

CNH Industrial Autonomous Tractor Concept Video
'...the tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'

The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.'

Siri Now Smoother, Perkier (Thanks, Deep Learning!)
'Good morning, Dr. Chandra. This is Hal.'

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.