NEWS

Government to Fund Synthetic Telepathy Research

By Laura Spadanuta

Wired.com reports that a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), has received a $4 million grant to study "neuroscientific and signal-processing foundations of synthetic telepathy."

According to a university press release, the research might help communication on the battlefield as well as with stroke and paralysis patients.

The brain-computer interface would use a noninvasive brain imaging technology like electroencephalography to let people communicate thoughts to each other. For example, a soldier would “think” a message to be transmitted and a computer-based speech recognition system would decode the EEG signals. The decoded thoughts, in essence translated brain waves, are transmitted using a system that points in the direction of the intended target.

Michael D'Zmura, chair of the UCI Department of Cognitive Sciences, says that use of such a system will take extensive training, and that the system will likely start off simple and become more complex.  He will colloborate on research with other UCI researchers, as well as with representatives from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland.

The grant is provided by the U.S. Department of Defense's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program.

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