Thought Helmets for Future Soldiers

September 22 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Security   Year: 2020   Rating: 14 Hot

The U.S. Army recently awarded a $4 million dollar contract to a company hoping to develop wireless communication through brain waves. The hope is that a device will be integrated into the helmet of all troops in the field, allowing for wordless communication and logging.

But the real question is this: is this technology really needed?

The following is a recording of the mental messages sent between a small group of soldiers deep into enemy territory in Argentina. Recorded May 5th, 2045, 08:34:27

Master Sergeant Thomas Wilkinson, Corporals Dave Rosenberg, Veronica Finney, and Cornelius Aarts.

Aarts: “Christ my legs are chaffing. We’ve been walking for over three hours. When the hell are we gonna stop? Why didn’t I join the Navy, they just sit in boats all day.”

Wilkinson: “May I remind you we can hear what you’re thinking Corn?”

Aarts: “Sorry sir, I’m still trying to figure out how to shut out certain thoughts. This goddamned helmet, I’d carry it by hand if I wasn’t holding my gun.”

Finney: “We can still hear you. Can’t you stop thinking and shut your trap?”

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Japanese Researchers Close to Recording Your Dreams

December 11 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Gadgets   Year: Beyond   Rating: 11 Hot


Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have succeeded in partially translating brain activity in humans into images.  "While the team for now has managed to reproduce only simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to figure out dreams and other secrets inside people's minds."  They honed the computer to each tested individual by showing them over 400 different images and recording how their brain reacted.  While successful tests have been run so far, the images used in the tests have been fairly simple ones such as the word "neuron."

Anyone who saw the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within has to remember how the main character was able to record her dreams for later viewing.  And, true to fashion, the images were somewhat cluttered and fuzzy, an excellent representation of where the technology might be in 20 years (due to the erratic nature of dreams and the speed at which they occur, we may never be able to record a dream like we see it sleeping).  And while it may lead to reading minds entirely, the "secrets" the team refers to, this technology is universally wanted by gadget-hounds everywhere.  Controlling things with the mind will always be the end goal for all of these BCIs.

via Yahoo!

Emotiv Systems Hits Roadblock, Delays Release Until 2009

December 02 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 2

project-epoc-wireless-mind-reading-headset.jpgJohn Callaham over at Big Download reports that Emotiv Systems, the company that was expected to release a brain-wave controller by the end of the year, is delaying its release due to issues of it actually working.  The press release where it was unveiled at the Game Developers Conference may be a sign.  "The public demo didn't go as planned; the device simply didn't work in front of the media who attended the press conference."  And while the company later explained that the product didn't work properly due to "interference from wireless transmitters," it's probably safe to say that the product didn't work because it simply isn't working.

I guess we all should have seen it coming.  A Brain Controlled Interface which is good enough to control video game characters seemed too good to be true for a 2008 release, and I guess it was.  What Emotiv probably found out was that technology as specific as this, much like Google's Voice Recognition software, takes a lot of time to perfect.  Google 411 has been working for years, using hundreds of thousands of voices to finally make a viable product.  Emotiv needs more time to do just the same.  The real question is how long will it take?  2009?  Let's hope.