Soldiers scanning the battlefield for threats may soon get a new tool: a brain-scanning set of binoculars that can pick up on a soldier's unconscious recognition of a potential threat and bring it to his conscious attention. It's just one of many ways DARPA and other military research groups are looking to have soldiers mind-meld with their machines and materiel, and as the BBC reports, it demonstrates how remarkably close we are to deploying mind-control on the battlefield.
The specific binocular device that DARPA is developing is known as Sentinel (for System for Notification of Threats Inspired by Neurally Enabled Learning, because that's not an unwieldy acronym or anything), and it basically uses the power of the human brain to scan and filter imagery in realtime, picking up on both what the soldier recognizes consciously and what his unconscious might perceive as well. Through electroencephalogram (EEG), the device can pick up on a brain signal known as P300 that signifies an unconscious recognition of something visual.
It can take the brain some time to become conscious of things it sees, and when seconds are critical--say, in the case of a convoy barreling toward a buried IED--the Sentinel recognizes the P300 signal imparted by the unconscious perception of that threat and alerts the soldier that he has just seen something significant, trimming the time between his seeing something and actually perceiving the threat.
This isn't DARPA's or the military establishment's first foray into mind-control on the battlefield, but it's one of the first to actually be working well in practice--in the lab at least. The device itself is still too big for the battlefield at 15 pounds (eventually Sentinel's makers want to get it down to five pounds) and it requires the use of EEG sensors that need to be further developed so they can be taken on and off the head like a hat or helmet. But in simulations in both tropical and desert terrains, Sentinel helped spot 30 percent more simulated threats than the human brain could alone.
It's the first step toward a militarized brain-machine interface, something that could augment all kinds of soldier systems in the future, from visual recognition systems like Sentinel to mind-controlled aerial or ground-based drones. As we've reported here previously, breaking down the barrier between the brain could also turn the soldiers themselves into more efficient machines, stimulating the brain to lengthen a soldier's attention spans and sharpen his decision-making skills. Much more on this emerging technology over at BBC.
Augumented bio defensive unconsious combat computer and software aided system enhancement, does not take into account, if the solder human could of had any bad emotional dramas prior, might be unconsciously emotionally overly emotionally sensitive and overly reactive.
Now we 'amplify' a trigger nervous fool?!
If it weren't for these damn neural implants you'd be a smoking crater by now......
I'm betting that, by the time offensive neural systems are implemented, we'll have a pretty good handle on the psychology of the brain as well as we do the mechanics. Besides, we already have front-line evidence with much larger machines - fighter jets. They are as close to neurally integrated with their planes as one can be and we have very little problem detecting and relieving problems with psychological disturbances.
This begs a question: Will paraplegics soon be able to be fully integrated into weapon systems as some form of career path?
The title of the article is an oxymoron, written by a moron. In most probability "the threat" will be the soldier himself, and even more so if she will happen to be a female.
The biggest threat to human life in all of history have been the armies. Furthermore, will the contraption be able to detect a manufactured "threat" in order to justify a military strike against those that are not to our liking, because of the economic, ideological or even cultural reasons and prejudices ? Like the "War on Iraq", a broken down country that "threatened" to send "drones of death" over the half of the globe to "the Shining city on the hill"- USA, spraying with the viruses the unintelligent [they swallowed the fabrication and believed it] population of that mixture of comical/evil country. Can science and technology invent a device for the common decent people that would make easier to find out, and then to eliminate, which ones from those that rule over us, over the society, are psychopaths and thus dangerous to the life on this planet ?