'Glass brain' virtual reality concept showcased at SXSW 2014

'Glass brain' virtual reality concept showcased at SXSW 2014
What if it were possible to watch your thoughts flashing before your eyes? It might soon become a reality. A neuroscientist and a videogame developer have created a system to do exactly that.

A new system developed by Philip Rosedale, creator of the famous game 'Second Life', and Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco, combines brain scanning, brain recording and virtual reality to allow a user to journey through a person's brain in realtime.

The duo demonstrated this 'glass brain' at the South by Southwest (SXSW 2014) Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, on 10 March 2014.

"We have never been able to step inside the structures of the brain and see it in this way. It is biofeedback on the next level," Gazzaley was quoted as saying.

During the demonstration, Rosedale wore a virtual reality headset through which he could explore his wife's (Yvette) brain in 3D as flashes of light displayed her brain activity from the EEG.

A projection screen showed a similar view to the audience at SXSW.

The 'glass brain' did not actually show what Yvette was thinking - the electroencephalogram (EEG) signals merely painted a picture of her brain activity more broadly.

Despite this initial limitation, Gazzaley's team ultimately hopes to get closer to decoding brain signals, and then displaying them using the virtual reality system.

People with traumatic brain injury or other neurological problems could visualise how their condition is affecting their brain activity, and then learn how to correct it.

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