Washington, October 14 : The U.S. Army is funding a new research project to explore the possibility of creating a technology that will enable soldiers to convey messages by thought.
The technology known as synthetic telepathy will be based on reading electrical activity in the brain using an electroencephalograph (EEG), something that is already being marketed as a way to control video games by thought.
The grant to researchers at University of California, Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland has two objectives-creating compose a message using "that little voice in the head", and sending it to a particular individual or object.
"I think that this will eventually become just another way of communicating," Discovery News quoted Mike D'Zmura, from the University of California, Irvine and the lead scientist on the project, as saying.
"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 added.
He strongly believes that thought-based communication can find more use in the civilian realm.
"The eventual application I see is for students sitting in the back of the lecture hall not paying attention because they are texting. Instead, students could be back there, just thinking to each other," he said.
D'Zmura also thinks that synthetic telepathy can be useful for patients with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) who have fully functional brains, but have lost control over their muscles.
He says that synthetic telepath can enable such patients to communicate.
The researcher reckons that it will take between 15 to 20 years to map the brain's response to most of the English language, before thought-based communication becomes a reality.