Microsoft Research Works on “Mental Tagging” of Images

One of the most tedious things to do when uploading a collection of photos to the web is tag them. Although doing so ensures they can be easily found later either by yourself or the online community at large, the process is often time-consuming and cumbersome. A number of technologies have been developed to improve on image tagging, including things like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk which pays people small amounts to tag online photos to online games which attempt to make tagging fun.

However, Microsoft Research is working on a process that sounds like it would be the best yet – if it works. The researchers are developing technology that reads your mind in order to tag the photos for you. According to an article on, this mind-reading machine uses an EEG to measure the brain activity created by looking at an image.  Although EEGs only provide general guidelines (as opposed to exact object names), says the article, the researchers were able to tell whether a person was looking at a picture of a face, an inanimate object, or an animal. Amazing!

You can read more about this project headed by researcher Desney Tan here (PDF).

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