What Do You Think?

A Machine May Let Us
All In Your Thoughts

Even without hearing a thing, some people can understand speech by reading the speaker’s lips. Now there’s a machine that does roughly the same thing: it ‘sees’ the brain waves that words create while still inside the listener and ‘translate’ them back into speech.
We’re not even close yet to being able to carry around such a device, and check what other people are thinking (about us), but researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, may be on their way to understand how the brain makes sense of the sound of words, either spoken aloud or as waves, inside somebody’s mind.
The science of brain imaging has had truly quantum leaps in the past 20 years, and modern medicine is now completely dependent on the precision of CAT scans and MRIs to make accurate diagnosis. It’s a matter of when, not if, we’ll be able to apply that to understanding the physiology behind our thoughts.
So far, research has been promising. To talk about cats, we told you just a few months ago about another team at the same university, that was able to track the group of cells in their brains that processes Continue reading

Counting Electric Sockets

Conference Focus on
Excitement of Boredom

Now here’s a gathering of like-minded people like no other: a day-long conference titled Boring 2010. Sorry, you’ve already missed it by a few weeks, but it was so successful its organizers plan to hold another one later this year.
Topics as riveting as “Listening to Paint Dry” to “The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs” to “My Relationship with Bus Routes” were followed attentively by the audience, when it was not nodding or eating energy bars to remain awake.
The conference was a hit but the fact that it was freezing in Continue reading