Tuesday, 14 October 2008 01:01
Vocal cords were overrated anyway. A new Army grant aims to create email or voice mail and send it by thought alone. No need to type an email, dial a phone or even speak a word. Known as synthetic telepathy, the technology is based on reading electrical activity in the brain using an electroencephalograph, or EEG. Similar technology is being marketed as a way to control video games by thought.
"I think that this will eventually become just another way of communicating," said Mike D'Zmura, from the University of California, Irvine and the lead scientist on the project. "It will take a lot of research, and a lot of time, but there are also a lot of commercial applications, not just military applications," he said.The idea of communicating by thought alone is not a new one. In the 1960s, a researcher strapped an EEG to his head and, with some training, could stop and start his brain's alpha waves to compose Morse code messages.
The Army grant to researchers at University of California, Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland has two objectives. The first is to compose a message using, as D'Zmura puts it, "that little voice in your head."
The second part is to send that message to a particular individual or object (like a radio), also just with the power of thought. Once the message reaches the recipient, it could be read as text or as a voice mail.
While the money may come from the Army and its first use could be for covert operations, D'Zmura thinks that thought-based communication will find more use in the civilian realm.
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