New brain scan can read intent
The potential for application of this technology--for people who are paralysed, for example--is very exciting. But there is also potential for invasion of privacy...
Brain scans have been developed which it is claimed can predict what a person is about to do.
German, British and Japanese scientists were able to "read minds" using sophisticated functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) and computer programs.
Current Biology reported people were asked to think about adding or subtracting - scientists were able to read intentions in 70% of cases.
A UK expert advised caution, but said such technologies would develop.
Professor Colin Blakemore, director of the Medical Research Council, said: "We shouldn't go overboard about the power of these technologies at the moment.
"But what you can be absolutely sure of is that these will continue to roll out and we will have more and more ability to probe people's intentions, minds, background thoughts, hopes and emotions."
He added: "Some of that is extremely desirable, because it will help with diagnosis, education and so on, but we need to be thinking the ethical issues through.
"It adds a whole new gloss to personal medical data and how it can be used."