posted on May 01, 2007 07:46
This is one of the cooler research projects to come down the pike.
According to Wired magazine, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has initiated a short-term project aimed at marrying optics and lightweight brain scans to enhance soldiers' situational awareness in the battlefield.
The concept is reasonable, and capitalizes on the prodigious image-processing capacity built into the human visual cortex:
That prefrontal cortex... allows the brain to pick up patterns quickly, but it also exercises a powerful impulse control, inhibiting false alarms. EEG would essentially allow the binoculars to bypass this inhibitory reaction and signal the wearer to a potential threat. In other words, like Spiderman's "spider sense," a soldier could be alerted to danger that his or her brain had sensed, but not yet had time to process.
According to the article, this is mostly an integration effort. All the required technology is already well-established in some form or another.
Now, if you ask me, this is unbelievably cool: humans take another baby step toward mastery of meatspace. Of course, a less optimistic person might worry about equipping a hundred thousand heavily-armed men with technologically-induced paranoia.