DARPA: Luke's Binoculars a Go!


Verified Military
Aug 14, 2007
Northrop To Develop Mind-Reading Binoculars

Soldiers may benefit from "faster-than-thought" reflexes

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has tapped Northrop Grumman to develop binoculars that will tap the subconscious mind. The Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System program, informally called "Luke's Binoculars," combines advanced optics with electro-encephalogram electrodes that can, DARPA believes, be used to alert the wearer to a threat before the conscious mind has processed the information. While they were considering a number of technologies for neural detections, it appears DARPA has settled on EEG. "HORNET will utilize a custom helmet equipped with electro-encephalogram electrodes placed on the scalp to record the user's continuous electrical brain activity," says Northrop. "The operator's neural responses to the presence or absence of potential threats will train the system's algorithms, which will continue to be refined over time so that the warfighter is always presented with items of relevance to his mission."

I described this project in an article last year for Wired News, when DARPA was still sifting through the concepts. The idea was to incorporate technology that detects neural patterns that indicate a possible threat -- the idea being that the subconscious mind detects threats faster than the conscious mind realizes (essentially, the binoculars bypass inhibitory reflexes). Some scientists I spoke with thought the projects was interesting -- particularly the advancements in optics and imaging -- but that neural detection technology wasn't nearly developed enough for the schedule DARPA anticipated (the agency wants to field the binoculars in just a few short years).

The most common sense challenge raised about these binocular by one scientist I spoke with was the whole issue of bypassing inhibitory reactions. Is that really something you want a soldier to do? It'll be interesting to see what the first soldiers to use these binoculars have to say about them....



This is great, since soldiers think too slow anyway.:D


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I'm still waiting on the x ray glasses.

Man, I thought I was the only kid who wanted a pair of those!:D
"HORNET will utilize a custom helmet equipped with electro-encephalogram electrodes placed on the scalp"

Shave my head? Your kidding, right?

That would interfere with the first principle of SF: "Always look cool."

Not to mention being a waste of perfectly good hair gel.

Tell you what. Build this doo-dad into a pair of Oakleys and maybe we'll talk.
And I mean good Oakleys. Not the stupid looking ones.