A new system developed by Philip Rosedale, creator of the 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 real-time. Rosedale and Gazzaley demonstrated this "glass brain" here at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival today (March 10).
"We've never been able to step inside the structures [of the brain] and see it in this way," Gazzaley said. "It's biofeedback on the next level."
The brain in question actually belonged to Rosedale's wife Yvette, who was wearing a cap studded with electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes that measure differences in electric potential in order to record brain activity. Gazzaley's team had previously scanned Yvette's brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal its underlying structure and tangle of neural fibers. [3-D Images: Exploring the Human Brain]
During the demo, Rosedale wore a virtual reality headset through which he could explore his wife's brain in 3-D, as flashes of light displayed her brain activity from the EEG. A projection screen showed a similar view to the audience. When the brain came on the screen, the buzz of excitement in the room was audible.