How long before they can tell what a person is dreaming?

Alert reader Robert “sent in” an article from Neuron this month (actually, he just walked over and showed it to me since we’re in the same lab). It is in keeping with the string of “brain chip” articles that The Big Upshot has been pleased to bring to the table. Miyawaki et. al. report in their article, “Visual Image Reconstruction from Human Brain Activity using a Combination of Multiscale Local Image Decoders” that they have successfully used fMRI brain scanning to reconstruct a person’s visual field.

Let me be perfectly clear. The Japanese can scan a person’s brain and determine what that person is seeing. How long before they can tell what a person is dreaming?

My grandmother told me that, years ago, people were worried about being hooked up to an electroenceephalogram. They would ask “you can’t read what I’m thinking, can you?”

Of course not. The EEG was far too low-resolution. But this… well… you don’t have anything to hide, right?

To be fair, the reconstituted image quality is not great. So at best these dream images would be of voyeur-tabloid quality. I don’t know if that makes the whole scenario better or worse.