Thought recording and reproduction device

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A thought recording and reproduction device refers to any machine which is able to both directly record and reproduce, via a brain-computer interface, the thoughts, emotions, dreams or other neural/cognitive events of a subject for that or other subjects to experience. While currently residing within mostly fictional displays of the capacity of such devices, the idea has received increased scientific currency since the development of the first BCI-enabled devices.

The term oneirography, referring to the recording of dreams, is also a synonym for the above


This hypothetical technology is a key element in some of the early short stories of William Gibson, including his 1977 debut Fragments of a Hologram Rose, where it is called ASP (Apparent Sensory Perception). In his Sprawl trilogy, it is termed Simstim (Simulation Stimulation), and described as the most popular form of entertainment, perhaps equivalent to 20th century pop music. Whereas most instances depict a heavily edited documentary version, replaying an approximation of the actual experience of the person recorded, in The Winter Market a version able to record dreams and imaginations exists.

A number of films from the 1980s onwards, such as Brainstorm (1983), Until the End of the World (1991), Strange Days (1995), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), depict the technology and its ramifications.


In December 2008, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International's Department of Cognitive Neuroscience announced its own research into the translation of neural signals into images.[1] In addition, Dr. Moran Cerf of UCLA published a 2010 paper for Nature which claimed that he and other fellow researchers were on the cusp of being able to allow psychologists to interpret thoughts by corroborating people's recollections of their dream with an electronic visualization of their brain activity.[2][3] The research outcome has often been popularized as a device that could record dreams. However, Moran Cerf says he never made that claim and only said that such a device is a theoretical possibility.[4]

Current limitations[edit]

BCI devices currently are able to translate a limited subset of neural signals into digital signals, most of which are utilized for motor-centric controls of attached devices. The translation of images which are perceived or conceived within the brain has not yet been fully achieved.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Celeste Biever (12 December 2008). "'Mind-reading' software could record your dreams". New Scientist.
  2. ^ Pallab Ghosh (27 October 2010). "Dream recording device 'possible' researcher claims". BBC News.
  3. ^ Moran Cerf, Nikhil Thiruvengadam, Florian Mormann, Alexander Kraskov, Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Christof Koch & Itzhak Fried (28 October 2010). "On-line, voluntary control of human temporal lobe neurons". Nature. 467: 1104–1108. doi:10.1038/nature09510.
  4. ^ Moran Cerf (24 August 2012). "The Moth Presents Moran Cerf: On Human (and) Nature". YouTube.