- Cape teacher accused of assaulting student at football game (10/23/16)41
- Police: Nurse assistant stole ring from patient's finger (10/27/16)10
- Pedestrian killed during traffic collision on I-55 (10/23/16)9
- One issue reveals Clinton's character (10/25/16)21
- Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter faces challenge from criminal investigator Wes Drury (10/21/16)10
- One victim IDs his attacker in shooting that killed woman (10/25/16)1
- Hundreds turn out for VintageNOW fundraiser (10/23/16)3
- R.P. Lumber chain buys Southeast Missouri Builders Supply in Cape (10/25/16)7
- Crews are working on the new Drury Hotel (10/21/16)4
- Cape teacher resigns after accusation of assaulting student at football game (10/26/16)11
Military funds mind-reading science
LOS ANGELES -- 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 someday lead to a gadget capable of translating the thoughts of soldiers who suffered brain injuries in combat or even stroke patients in hospitals. But the research also raises concerns that such mind-reading technology could be used to interrogate the enemy.
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 is a collaboration among researchers at the University of California, Irvine; Carnegie Mellon University; and the University of Maryland.
The scientists use brain wave-reading technology known as electroencephalography, or EEG, which measures the brain's electrical activity through electrodes placed on the scalp.
It works like this: Volunteers wear an electrode cap and are asked to think of a word chosen by the researchers, who then analyze the brain activity.
In the future, scientists hope to develop thought-recognition software that would allow a computer to speak or type out a person's thought.
"To have a person think in a free manner and then figure out what that is, we're years away from that," said lead researcher Michael D'Zmura, who heads UC Irvine's cognitive sciences department.
D'Zmura said such a system would require extensive training by people trying to send a message and dismisses the notion that thoughts can be forced out.
"This will never be used in a way without somebody's real, active cooperation," he said.
John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a Virginia-based defense research firm, said the technology is still too nascent to be of practical use for the military.
"They're still in the proof of principle stage," Pike said.
A message left with the Army was not immediately returned Friday.