The New York Times > Science > Improved Scanning Technique Uses Brain as Portal to Thought
"The scanning technique, known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, is a more powerful version of a technique widely used in hospitals. It can show which regions of the brain are actively performing some task, but until now has lacked the resolution to track specific groups of neurons, as the functional units of the brain are called.
The improvement lies not in the scanners themselves but in a new analytic technique developed by Dr. Frank Tong, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University. In today's issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, he and a colleague, Dr. Yukiyasu Kamitani, report that they were able with the scanner to distinguish the orientation of a test pattern of lines being observed by their subjects.
The scanner was able to furnish the necessary data because it was looking into a region of the brain known as the primary visual cortex, where information from the eye is processed. One of the first relay stations from the retina, an area of the visual cortex called V1, holds columns of neurons that burst into activity when lines or edges are perceived, with each column responding to a specific angle of orientation.
Comment: does this pattern to work being done by Jeff Hawkins?
He spoke at PCForum this year on brain structure
Goal of building "intelligent" machines
Redwood Neuroscience Inst