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Science Briefing

Project may help military read minds

August 16, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Here's a mind-bending idea: The U.S. military is paying scientists to study ways to read people's thoughts.

The hope is that the research could lead to a gadget capable of translating the thoughts of soldiers who suffered brain injuries in combat.

Armed with a $4-million grant from the Army, scientists are studying brain signals to try to decipher what a person is thinking and to whom the person wants to direct the message. The project uses brain-wave-reading technology known as electroencephalography, or EEG, which measures electrical activity through electrodes on the scalp.

The project is a collaboration among researchers at UC Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland. They hope to develop thought-recognition software -- but that's years away, said lead researcher Michael D'Zmura, who heads UC Irvine's cognitive sciences department.

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