A new technique developed by neuroscientists at U of T Scarborough can, for the first time, reconstruct images of what people perceive based on their brain activity gathered by EEG.
The technique developed by Dan Nemrodov, a postdoctoral fellow in Assistant Professor Adrian Nestor’s lab at U of T Scarborough, is able to digitally reconstruct images seen by test subjects based on electroencephalography (EEG) data.
“When we see something, our brain creates a mental percept, which is essentially a mental impression of that thing. We were able to capture this percept using EEG to get a direct illustration of what’s happening in the brain during this process,” says Nemrodov.
For the study, test subjects hooked up to EEG equipment were shown images of faces. Their brain activity was recorded and then used to digitally recreate the image in the subject’s mind using a technique based on machine learning algorithms.
It’s not the first time researchers have been able to reconstruct images based on visual stimuli using neuroimaging techniques. The current method was pioneered by Nestor who successfully reconstructed facial images from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data in the past, but this is the first time EEG has been used.
And while techniques like fMRI – which measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow – can grab finer details of what’s going on in specific areas of the brain, EEG has greater practical potential given that it’s more common, portable, and inexpensive by comparison. EEG also has greater temporal resolution, meaning it can measure with detail how a percept develops in time right down to milliseconds, explains Nemrodov.
“fMRI captures activity at the time scale of seconds, but EEG captures activity at the millisecond scale. So we can see with very fine detail how the percept of a face develops in our brain using EEG,” he says. In fact, the researchers were able to estimate that it takes our brain about 170 milliseconds (0.17 seconds) to form a good representation of a face we see.
This study provides validation that EEG has potential for this type of image reconstruction notes Nemrodov, something many researchers doubted was possible given its apparent limitations. Using EEG data for image reconstruction has great theoretical and practical potential from a neurotechnological standpoint, especially since it’s relatively inexpensive and portable.
In terms of next steps, work is currently underway in Nestor’s lab to test how image reconstruction based on EEG data could be done using memory and applied to a wider range of objects beyond faces. But it could eventually have wide-ranging clinical applications as well.
“It could provide a means of communication for people who are unable to verbally communicate. Not only could it produce a neural-based reconstruction of what a person is perceiving, but also of what they remember and imagine, of what they want to express,” says Nestor.
“It could also have forensic uses for law enforcement in gathering eyewitness information on potential suspects rather than relying on verbal descriptions provided to a sketch artist.”
The research, which is published in the journal eNeuro, was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and by a Connaught New Researcher Award.
“What’s really exciting is that we’re not reconstructing squares and triangles but actual images of a person’s face, and that involves a lot of fine-grained visual detail,” adds Nestor.
“The fact we can reconstruct what someone experiences visually based on their brain activity opens up a lot of possibilities. It unveils the subjective content of our mind and it provides a way to access, explore and share the content of our perception, memory and imagination.”
The Latest on: Neuroimaging
via Google News
The Latest on: Neuroimaging
- Life Image Announces a Partnership with RapidAI to Accelerate the Adoption of Life-Saving Stroke Technology to Hospitalson June 24, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Life Image and RapidAI partner to accelerate the adoption of life-saving stroke technology to hospitals through cloud network ...
- Age differences in brain structural and metabolic responses to binge ethanol exposure in fisher 344 ratson June 23, 2020 at 9:27 pm
In contrast to our findings in humans with alcohol use disorders (AUD), our animal models have not demonstrated enduring brain pathology despite chronic, high ethanol (EtOH) exposure protocols.
- Neuroimaging suggests resilience to drug addiction may come from better control over compulsive behaviorson June 18, 2020 at 6:35 am
A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge has found evidence suggesting that people who are addicted to drugs may find gaining control over compulsive behaviors a path to recovery. In their ...
- Multi-institutional study examines neuroimaging findings in COVID-19 patientson June 16, 2020 at 4:48 pm
The purpose of this current study was to describe the neuroimaging findings other than stroke in patients with severe COVID-19 and report the clinical and biological profile of these patients. The ...
- The most common neurological symptoms of Covid-19 – and how 'red flags' can be identified earlieron June 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Neuroimaging, also known as brain imaging, uses various methods to allow neuroscientists to see inside the living brain. Analysing neuroimaging, as well as neurological symptoms in patients with ...
- ENIGMA MDD: seven years of global neuroimaging studies of major depression through worldwide data sharingon May 29, 2020 at 1:23 pm
However, despite intensive neuroimaging research towards this effort, underpowered studies and a lack of reproducible findings have hindered progress. Here, we discuss the work of the ENIGMA Major ...
- These are the 2 most common neurological COVID-19 symptomson May 29, 2020 at 9:13 am
The medical and scientific communities have a fairly clear understanding of COVID-19’s impact on the lungs and respiratory system, but what the coronavirus can do to our central nervous systems ...
- Clues to COVID-19 in the brain uncovered in new studyon May 27, 2020 at 10:50 am
A study reviewing neuroimaging and neurological symptoms in patients with COVID-19 may shed light on the virus's impact on the central nervous system. A study by University of Cincinnati ...
- UC study uncovers clues to COVID-19 in the brainon May 27, 2020 at 5:44 am
A study by University of Cincinnati researchers and three Italian institutions reviewing neuroimaging and neurological symptoms in patients with COVID-19 may shed light on the virus’s impact on the ...
- Translational Neuroimaging and Neurophysiologyon April 26, 2020 at 11:11 am
Director: Jianhui Zhong, Ph.D., Co-Director: Ed Freedman, Ph.D. The Translational Neuroimaging and Neurophysiology (TNN) Core provides UR-IDDRC investigators with priority access to fully modernized ...
via Bing News