By: Ted Thornhill / Source: Mail Online
Learning a martial art, how to fly a plane or how to speak a new language without even being awake is set to become a reality, say researchers.
Scientists at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, believe that in the future learning a new skill might involve nothing more than sitting in front of a computer screen and waiting for it to ‘upload’.
They have been studying how a functional magnetic resonance machine (FMRI) can ‘induce’ knowledge in someone through their visual cortex by sending signals that change their brain activity pattern.
This process is called Decoded Neurofeedback, or ‘DecNef’.
No medication is needed and the subject doesn’t even have to be awake, he or she simply has their brain activity changed to a ‘target’ pattern, which could be anything from that of a star footballer to a master chess player.
Lead author Takeo Watanabe from the University of Boston said: ‘Adult early visual areas are sufficiently plastic to cause visual perceptual learning.’
The researchers knew their technique had worked because the FMRI volunteers all underwent visual skill tests and had their results compared with those of people not given the treatment – and the former had far better scores.
In the The Matrix trilogy the characters learn new skills by having a computer physically plugged into their brains and new skills directly uploaded.
The day when we are able to do something similar is not too far away, say the researchers.
The results of their study were published in Science.