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New smart cap can 'read' your mind

July 13, 2014

Scientists have developed a new mind-reading cap that uses LEDs to record neural activity.

Researchers advanced a brain-scanning technology that tracks what the brain is doing by shining dozens of tiny light-emitting diode (LED) lights on the head, Daily Mail reported.

This new generation of neuroimaging compares favourably to other approaches but avoids the radiation exposure and bulky magnets the others require, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.

The optical approach to brain scanning is ideally suited for children and for patients with electronic implants, such as pacemakers, cochlear implants and deep brain stimulators (used to treat Parkinson's disease).

The new technology is called diffuse optical tomography (DOT).

The DOT instrument covers two-thirds of the head and for the first time can image brain processes taking place in multiple regions and brain networks such as those involved in language processing and self-reflection (daydreaming).

Unlike fMRI and Positron emission tomography (PET), DOT technology is designed to be portable, so it could be used at a patient's bedside or in the operating room.

Using DOT, researchers can get reliable data to a depth of about one centimetre of tissue.

That centimetre contains some of the brain's most important and interesting areas with many higher brain functions, such as memory, language and self-awareness, represented, researchers said.

During DOT scans, the subject wears a cap composed of many light sources and sensors connected to cables.

The full-scale DOT unit takes up an area slightly larger than an old- fashioned phone booth, but researchers have built versions of the scanner mounted on wheeled carts.

The research was published in the journal Nature Photonics.

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Source: Baluchistan Express, The

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