Wired reports that within three years Darpa plans to prototype binoculars that are directly wired into soldiers’ brains:
U.S. Special Forces may soon have a strange and powerful new weapon in their arsenal: a pair of high-tech binoculars 10 times more powerful than anything available today, augmented by an alerting system that literally taps the wearer’s prefrontal cortex to warn of furtive threats detected by the soldier’s subconscious.
In a new effort dubbed “Luke’s Binoculars” — after the high-tech binoculars Luke Skywalker uses in Star Wars — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is setting out to create its own version of this science-fiction hardware. And while the Pentagon’s R&D arm often focuses on technologies 20 years out, this new effort is dramatically different — Darpa says it expects to have prototypes in the hands of soldiers in three years. [Read more.]
Whereas brain-computer interfaces enable people to control various aspects of their environment, the goal of augmented cognition is to determine peoples’ cognitive state in order to enhance it. Augmented cognition has many potential military applications, and its proponents promise that it will also greatly improve productivity in the workplace.