Thursday, June 26, 2008

Next gadget for U.S. soldiers: Brain-aided binoculars?

Now this is amazing. What' next find and seek bullets??

LINTHICUM, Maryland (AP) -- Military binoculars may soon get information directly from the brains of the soldiers using them.

"Smart" binoculars could tap into the brain's ability to spot patterns and movement.

With the idea that that the brain absorbs and assesses more visual information than it lets on -- and that it could make more sense out of what's visible through high-power binoculars if it stopped filtering that information -- the Pentagon has awarded contracts to two defense firms to develop brainwave-aided binoculars.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, is betting that intelligent binoculars can tap into the brain's ability to spot patterns and movement and help soldiers detect threats from miles farther away than they can with traditional binoculars.

Electrodes on the scalp inside a helmet will record the user's brain activity as it processes information about high-resolution images produced by wide-angle military binoculars. Those responses will train the binoculars over time to recognize threats.

"You need to present the soldier with many images and then use the person's brain to figure out what is of interest," said Yuval Boger, CEO of Sensics, Inc., a Baltimore-based maker of panoramic head-mounted displays.

Sensics belongs to a team led by Northrop Grumman that won $6.7 million for its research. Other members include Northrop's Linthicum-based Electronic Systems division; SAIC of San Diego, California; Theia Technologies LLC, of Wilsonville, Oregon; and Dallas-based L-3 Communications Infrared Products.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, Portland State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder are also participating.

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