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Dream machine.

Record your dreams, then invite your friends over to watch them.
  [vote for,

It turns out that when we’re dreaming, our visual cortex is lit-up, so we are actually seeing images – though they’re just imaginary.

Wouldn’t you like TIVO your dreams for later analysis? How scary would that be? Or embarrassing? Post ‘em on the web for all to see! Watch your friends dream live – poke them and see if it changes the dream at all, or place their hand in warm water. Record a crime suspect’s dreams, and prosecute if there’s any incriminating visual evidence. The uses are endless.

How to do it: Blanket the visual cortex with a sheet of carbon nanotubes that pierce each neuron. Have this blanket hooked up to a computer for interpretation (a 2d array of nanotubes would form a dot-matrix image for the computer to translate). Have the person stare at various calibration images – color, moving, fuzzy etc. so that the computer can figure out what neuron corresponds to what visual function. Once mapped, anything the person sees, the computer can recreate, be it live input, or dreaming.

An eye doctor wouldn’t need to ask you ‘better, or worse… better, or worse..’. He could just look at the computer screen and actually see what you do.

You could close your eyes and hook into a friends input to see things live.

A more advanced version would scan the involved neurons (auditory as well) with a non-invasive technique, like some kind of real-time PET scan helmet.

TIB, Sep 11 2003

pet dream videos http://www.halfbake...et_20dream_20videos
pet version by [n-pearson] [krelnik, Oct 17 2004]

Until The End of the World (1991) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101458/
[jutta, May 04 2006]


       Although I applaud the effort at actually proposing how to do it, I don't think it would work on a mass-scale; everybody's brain is a little different mapping-wise.
RayfordSteele, Sep 11 2003

       Nanotube magic.
pluterday, Sep 11 2003

       I can just record Knight Rider on my TIVO and it's almost the same thing..
DeathNinja, Sep 11 2003

       Hey [RayfordSteele]:   

       Yeah, I think everyone’s brain is so different there’d be no way to place electrodes in such a way as to record anything other than random noise – without a map of the individual’s own visual cortex.   

       The computer is the key to this idea. Every person would be exposed to the same set of calibration images, and the computer would form a map of what neuron corresponds to what visual input.   

       Each person would have a personal map (key) of their visual cortex built up this way, that the computer would need to record images into a standard format, or play images back into a brain.   

       I’d hate to have my dream collection stolen, but without the key, no computer could decode the data stream, therefore my dreams would be safe.
TIB, Sep 11 2003

       I have this feeling that piercing every neuron with a carbon nanotube would lead more to a near death epxerience than dream analysis.
DrCurry, Sep 11 2003

       William Gibson probably has some good input on this idea.
hawg, Sep 11 2003

       i'm voting "for" because i've already got the cortex-nano-tube codec algorithm halfway written in "Visual Basic"...
hawg, Sep 11 2003

       Folks, if you haven't done so, read Isaac Asimov's "Dreaming is a private thing" ... you'll enjoy it !
riskyrisk, Sep 12 2003

       //Nanotube magic.//   

       Uh, it's *carbon* nanotube magic.
snarfyguy, Sep 12 2003

       A largely lower tech idea but one that might actually be implementable shortly. If you want to see what other people are seeing wouldn't you be just better implanting a transceiver in everyones optic nerves then relaying the data stream to the other person. I could get my wife to stay up all night watching tv in the lounge while I relax in bed with a nice whisky and coke.... which I couldnt see, just hope she doesnt look at stuff I dont like.....anyway where was I oh yes.... that way no mapping of the neural network is needed just a switching device to transmit or receive as required, use the other persons eye as the camera which generates the appropriate signal if you will...no understanding of signal required.......hope the other person doesnt have a 640*480 max low bandwidth optic nerve....dont know about dream recording though.....thats more difficult..think thats like a couple of trillion transceivers one for each neuron if I get your idea. : )
Samildanach, Sep 12 2003

       There's a related idea on the bakery for recording pet dreams, see link. On that idea are some really interesting links about some researchers who have actually reconstructed low-res but accurate images from a cat's visual cortex. The method is somewhat intrusive, however.
krelnik, Sep 12 2003

       Guys, there's more to dreams than just seeing and hearing/smelling/touching/tasting. Feelings & Emotion are a large part of what makes a dream a dream. Without the emotional element, you can't convey your dream to another person.   

       So until you invent a way to mind-meld, this is not only magic, but ineffectual magic.
phundug, Sep 12 2003

       how about cooperative dreams ..?
Letsbuildafort, Sep 12 2003

       Our emotions are just a series of neurons firing too. Look at what happens when someone takes Cocaine.. it changes that persons emotional state. Or anti-depressants. Nothing spiritual here.   

       We could record those responses, and map them onto another’s brain in almost the same way as we would any stimulus.   

       Gotta figure out how to make it less invasive for sure.
TIB, Sep 12 2003

       Well you have to start somewhere and seeing through someone elses eyes would be a good start. I am going to look up those cats cortex experiments. Sounds v.interesting.
Samildanach, Sep 15 2003

       I know this is an old idea/posting, but I'm new here and the basic idea sounds interesting. Would the eyes idea [Samildanach] actually work? I mean the optic nerve isn't just a single cable that transports data to a single area for processing, you would have to ensure that the projections from particular types of ganglion cells (P, M & koniocells) projected to the right layers of the LGN wouldn't you? Would that mean that you would have to map firing patterns from individual different types of cells from the other person onto the corresponding same type of cells in yourself in order to make sense of the input in a similar way? And [TIB] I don't think you could map emotions from one brain to another even if you replicated the exact pattern of neural firing, as emotions (especially the more complex ones) are dependent on learning and particular associations; the person whose brain the signals were mapped onto would have a very different experience I would think.   

       I don't know about anyone else, but I have had several times dreams that were completely different and happened on different nights, that occurred in the same landscape that was consistent across dreams and didn't correspond to any landscape I know of in the real world. I thought an interesting idea related to the dream recording idea would be to have some virtual space where you could plot/partially recreate your dreams (manually, not via electrode recordings), and not necessarily just ones that happened in the same landscape, to create like a running semantic web/dreamscape log like a dream diary but more integrated. You could notice and analyse trends in your own dreams then.
cetacean, Oct 30 2006


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