09-23-08, 06:59 PM #1
US Army Invests in 'Thought Helmet' Technology
US Army Invests in 'Thought Helmet' Technology for Voiceless Communication
by Lisa Zyga, Technology / Hi Tech
In the future, soldiers may be communicating silently with sophisticated "thought helmets." The devices would harness a personīs brain waves and transmit them as radio waves, where they would be translated into words in the headphones of other soldiers.
The US Army has recently awarded a five-year $4 million contract to researchers from the University of California at Irvine (led by UCIīs Mike DīZmura), Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Maryland to study the concept. It will likely be a decade or two before the thought helmet becomes a reality, but the rough technology is already under investigation. Researchers have been working on other brain-computer interfaces, such as Emotiv Systemsī brain-wave headset for video games, which is expected to be available commercially next summer.
The Army's version would of course be more sophisticated and reliable than the gaming headset. To make the thought helmet a feasible piece of equipment for soldiers, scientists need to combine advances in computing power together with our understanding of the human brain.
At the moment, the thought helmet concept consists of 128 sensors buried in a soldierīs helmet. Soldiers would need to think in clear, formulaic ways, which is similar to how they are already trained to talk. The key challenge to making the system work is a software system that can read an electroencephalogram (EEG) generated by the sensor data, and pick out when a soldier is thinking words, and what those words are.
Because the brain is a complex system and generates such large amounts of data, researchers must also make improvements in computing power. Soldiers will also have to be trained to think "loudly" to make it easier for the system to pick out their words from the brainīs background noise. Also, every individualīs EEG signals are a little different, so users and computers will have to be calibrated so that computers recognize each personīs unique mental pattern.
In early versions, recipients will most likely hear messages rendered by a robotic voice in their headphones. But the researchers also think itīs possible to render commands in the speakerīs own voice, as well as indicate the location of the speaker relative to the listener.
For people concerned about the ethics of the technology, Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program, reassures that the technology will not allow mind-reading. As he explains, since every user has to be trained with the system, it would be impossible to use the technology against an individualīs will and without their cooperation.
Instead, the researchers are interested in potential civilian benefits. One such application might be a Bluetooth headpiece which could read speakersī thoughts and transmit them to the person theyīre calling - eliminating those loud, one-sided conversations in public.
09-23-08, 07:19 PM #2
09-23-08, 07:22 PM #3
A decade or two?
They have already been working on similar ideas with flying planes by thought for over two decades and have made inchworm progress.
I think closer to a century or two, but time will tell.
09-24-08, 05:06 AM #4
fMRI scans + SPECT + EEG + genetic mapping 20 years maximum. Just google EMOTIV EPOC and NeuroSky and be very afraid.....
09-24-08, 05:13 AM #5
It seems like even if they could get this to work; that each person would have to have an individualized helmet... I don't think thoughts are identical in all people. It would have to be programmed some how with a finite set of commands.
09-24-08, 05:23 AM #6
Did you google yet?
Helmets, implants, electrodes. Sounds like science fiction but it's not.
09-24-08, 05:28 AM #7
09-24-08, 07:07 AM #8
What would be even better is if the thoughts were just translated into mental images, so that there is nothing lost in translation.
Of course, with verbal thoughts, you would be getting so much shit from everyone else that you wouldn't even know what thoughts are yours anymore.
09-24-08, 07:42 AM #9
The main problem with these sorts of technologies is they use generic equipment. One helmet suits all, there is no biometric's involved in encryption etc. This is an issue because it means that information could easily be ripped from someone or worse still inserted. Perhaps people should think the sort of implications in the espionage industry.
Stealing designs, Harassing people to commit murders, abusing people, Vote rigging and all in the name of progress?
09-24-08, 07:43 AM #10
09-25-08, 12:26 AM #11
09-25-08, 12:34 AM #12
there is no way in HELL this will work with our current understanding of the brain. hell all we can work out so far is that this section controls this and that controls that, there is no chance we could even work out that such and such means HELLO
09-25-08, 12:38 AM #13
09-25-08, 12:45 AM #14
im not saying that the brain cant do it, what im saying is that currently there is no way to interpret whats coming through
take a symple task, a computer game where there are two choices, go left or go right. now when faced with this choice we know that certain portions of the brain become more active, at a guess the judgment center, the creative center, oviously those portions which deal with interpreting sight and probably movement as well.
yet even so there is no way to tell which choice that person made. hell i wish this was possable because if it was we could be manufacturing prosetic limbs which actually funtion by a transmitter from the brain but yet the closest we have got to this is trying to work out which nerve impulses belong to certain mussles and working from that end to transmit to a prostetic
09-25-08, 01:16 AM #15
09-25-08, 01:34 AM #16
09-26-08, 08:57 AM #17
Obviously a turn mechanism is different depend on how the Turn itself is formatted, if you are stating a direction "Left" in a game of say Pacman, it's different from turning left in a First Person Perspective. The two visual reactions are different which generate different stimuli within the brain.
I guess I'm implying there is difference between Observation and Instruction, however those regions of the brain are well known about and many Cybernetics projects have the capacity to hook up to the waveforms formed in those areas.
(incidentally how do you think Stepen Hawking's communicates with the world?)
09-26-08, 09:05 AM #18
as far as i know steven hawkins doesnt use brain waves, his computer reads his eye movements
for instance up to the left for yes, up to the right for no. now his program is MUCH more advanced than that oviously
09-27-08, 09:13 AM #19
Pfft the Norwegians have been working on this since sometime in the seventies...
09-27-08, 06:12 PM #20
if they invent stuff like this and learn to make people people see stuff by simply 'inserting' it into their brains (even if they don't want to), learning stuff can become a lot easier and also fun. But it'll also make indoctrination much easier, and also make it possible for people to extract information from your brain that you don't want people to know.
its kinda scary.
If this technology comes into existence it's only a matter of time before thought police becomes a reality.
Maybe we'll learn techniques to keep our thoughts hidden, similar to what is mentioned in the start post, that soldiers are supposed to be trained to think loudly.
Last edited by s0meguy; 09-27-08 at 06:31 PM.
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