The prototype device was made “for bad information detection”, said Xu Jianjun, director of the electrical engineering experiment centre at Beijing Jiaotong University, who published the work in Journal of Electronic Measurement and Instrumentation.
It was tested on 15 male university students who would wear the device while sat in front of a computer screen – with an alarm going off when explicit imagery was detected by the brain.
The developers say the new device can automatically adapt to the brainwaves of a human censor, able to filter out other signals that would come from emotions or weariness.
Chinese authorities employ professional censors called jian huang shi - porn appraisers – to check social media for what they deem inappropriate content.
Usually artificial intelligence can be used to detect explicit pictures and videos, but sometimes the algorithm makes errors. Human brains can still detect pornographic content more quickly and with greater accuracy.
Many of these appraisers are women, but since the test was only ran on men researchers believe there could be differences between genders. The accuracy of the machine is reportedly 80 per cent.
However, one unnamed researcher said that there could be ethical issues. “There is no law to regulate the use of such devices or protect the data they collected,” an individual from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei reportedly said.