A new algorithm uses brain activity to create reconstructions (bottom two rows) of observed photos (top row). By Matthew HutsonJan.

10, 2018 , 12:35 PM Imagine searching through your digital photos by mentally picturing the person or image you want. Or sketching a new kitchen design without lifting a pen.

Or texting a loved one a sunset photo that was never captured on camera. A computer that can read your mind would find many uses in daily life, not to mention for those paralyzed and with no other way to communicate.

Now, scientists have created the first algorithm of its kind to interpret—and accurately reproduce—images seen or imagined by another person. It might be decades before the technology is ready for practical use, but researchers are one step closer to building systems that could help us project our inner mind’s eye outward.

“I was impressed that it works so well,” says Zhongming Liu, a computer scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who helped develop an algorithm that can somewhat reproduce what moviegoers see when they’re watching a film. “This is really cool.” Using algorithms to decode mental images isn’t new. Read more from sciencemag.org…

thumbnail courtesy of sciencemag.org