Kyoto scientists have developed a machine that can record your dreams and output them as short films, allowing the opportunity to better understand what goes on in the brain when we sleep.
Participants in the study slept in an MRI scanner, which monitored which parts of the brain were activating as they dreamt, and afterwards were asked to describe what they had seen.
Researchers then created subcategories of the dream images, such as 'person' or 'car', and showed specific pictures in these categories to the participants. Their brain waves were recorded to compare the signals between what they had seen in the dream and the representation they were shown.
When they slept again, a machine attempted to match their brainwaves with the images from each subcategory, producing a video that looks like this:
This machine's algorithm turned out to be correct about 60% of the time - meaning that with further research, we could soon be able to record and watch our own dreams, even the ones that we have forgotten.
Research into this area has been ongoing for some years; in 2005, a paper was published by one of the scientists involved in this break-through which investigated how easily brainwaves can be connected to specific images.
However, this technology could also end up being used to literally read our minds; something that most of us would find intrusive at best and a violation of human rights at worst. Let's hope we avoid a situation reminiscent of the Minority Report.