updated 8/18/2008 10:35:16 AM ET 2008-08-18T14:35:16

What are they thinking? That's what the military is trying to find out by studying 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 or even stroke patients. 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.

Volunteers wear an electrode cap and are asked to think of a word chosen by the researchers, who then analyze the brain activity. Scientists say they're years away from deciphering random thoughts, and that the technology would only work with the subject's active cooperation.

The project is a collaboration among researchers at the University of California, Irvine; Carnegie Mellon University; and the University of Maryland.

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