Researchers Used an MRI Machine to Teach You Anything You Want to Know!

You remember that part in the Matrix where Neo is hooked up to the “Matrix” and he instantly learns Kung Fu? That’s a bunch of science fiction, or, it was science fiction… until some researchers found a way to actually do that same thing using an MRI – if you’re thinking about going into the Teaching field, your job may became obsolete in the next couple of decades. Soon, we’ll all know everything Wikipedia has to offer in a matter of hours.

A while back I had a story talking about UC Berkeley researchers using an MRI to make videos out of your dreams and thoughts. Well, a couple of American and Japanese researchers joined forces to experiment with that same technology and they actually discovered that the technology works both ways. They found a way to use the functional MRI to generate patterns inside of your brain, these patterns are then used to teach you new things – like Kung Fu

So how exactly does this machine work? Well, you basically go out and find a person that is very good at doing something that requires high performance from your visual nerve endings (eyes)  – something like dodging a ball or catching a baseball. You place them inside an fMRI machine and then record their brain waves when they visualize catching the ball, or dodging the punch. Once the MRI pops out the graph and information about what’s going on inside their brains, the scientist create a program and store it into a computer.

Then you, the inexperience baseball catching or punch dodging person, comes into the picture. They place you inside of the MRI and rig the machine to induce the punch dodging or ball catching image that was recorded from the professional using something that’s called “Neurofeedback.” Your brain basically learns how to do the same actions by becoming familiar with the same pattern – and that’s the same pattern that happens when you are learning something new…. You basically speed up the process form a few years (the time it takes to becoming a pro) down to a few hours.

So, there you have it, next time you want to become a professional kung fu fighter, as long as you have the athletic body, you can learn the moves in a couple of hours! While this technology is more for learning physical movements, eventually the technology may advance to a stage where we could learn intellectual knowledge like Wikipedia or even another language.

Science and NSF, via io9