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Mind-Controlled Drones Are Now Real, And They Could Transform The Battlefield
On April 16, the University of Florida held the world’s first mind-controlled drone race, the latest signifier of this field’s rapid technological ascension. Although the drones only competed along a 10-yard course, the fact remains: These machines were commanded by human brainpower — or in technical terms, brain-computer interface.
The science behind BCI allows humans to manipulate machines with their thoughts by translating the brain’s electrical activity into code that drones can understand. The tool used to map and track this neuroelectric activity is called an electroencephalogram, or EEG, headset. These headsets are fine-tuned to identify the location and frequency of electrical activity linked with specific thoughts in the brain.
In practice, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s pretend you’re wearing the headset and your objective is to move a drone across a room using your imagination. When you are picturing this machine moving, neurons fire in specific sections of your brain. The EEG headset will recognize this activity and provide signals that can be translated into code. This code essentially “speaks” to the drone in its technical language and commands it how and where to move — like a remote control tells your television to change the channel, or turn on and off.
Now, take a moment to ponder what impact these developments could have on the modern battlefield. Once the technology is battle-ready, which may be soon, soldiers will have a significantly enhanced ability to execute the crucial split-second decisions that arise in combat. And it doesn’t have to stop at drones either: From tanks to planes to even weaponry, all could eventually be controlled by the thoughts of a specialized soldier.
If this sounds farfetched to you, be advised: DARPA has been developing mind-controlled drone technology for several years now, and the Russians are doing the same. But until the global BCI arms race begins in earnest, the technology will have a far more immediate impact on injured veterans returning home from war.
Neuroelectric technology has already made serious headway in the medical field over the past few years, providing aid to people with physical or mental disabilities in the form of mind-controlled robots like the telepresence robot. Using similar neuroelectric technology as the EEG headset, these machines are equipped with infrared sensors and cameras and move around based on the user’s brain waves. Scientists are also working to develop artificial limbs that can be “told” to move by the brain like a normal arm or leg would, an ideal tool for amputees or people with limited range of mobility.
Considering the possibilities this expanding field presents, both on and off the battlefield, it’s difficult to imagine it experiencing any dwindling support. And with governments and medical entities lining up to fund the next big thing in neuroelectric technology, we have plenty of reasons to believe the wait won’t be long.
What started as a wildly popular Facebook hoax titled Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us back in June has since morphed into a real live event. That's right, the long awaited day is upon us.
As of Friday morning, people have begun to make their way to the secret U.S. military installation in the Nevada desert in search of answers to the questions that plague us all: Are we alone in the universe? Is our government secretly hiding a bunch of aliens? Just how fast can I "Naruto run" past the base gate? And how far can we take a joke with the U.S. military?
The Marine Corps is loading up one of its experimental unmanned ground vehicle with a buttload of firepower.
The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is working on a prototype of its tracked Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) with a remote-controlled .50 caliber machine gun turret and a specialized launcher for kamikaze drones to accompany Marines in urban environments, Military.com reports.
An Air Force civilian has died at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in a "non-combat related incident," U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced on Friday.
Jason P. Zaki, 32, died on Wednesday while deployed to the 609th Air Operations Center from the Pentagon, an AFCENT news release says.
At a time when taxpayer and foreign-government spending at Trump Organization properties is fueling political battles, a U.S. Marine Corps reserve unit stationed in South Florida hopes to hold an annual ball at a venue that could profit the commander in chief.
The unit is planning a gala to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Marines' founding at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Nov. 16, according to a posting on the events website Evensi.
QUANTICO, Virginia -- They may not be deadly, but some of the nonlethal weapons the Marine Corps is working on look pretty devastating.
The Marine Corps Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate is currently testing an 81mm mortar round that delivers a shower of flashbang grenades to disperse troublemakers. There is also an electric vehicle-stopper that delivers an electrical pulse to shut down a vehicle's powertrain, designed for use at access control points.
"When you hear nonlethal, you are thinking rubber bullets and batons and tear gas; it's way more than that," Marine Col. Wendell Leimbach Jr., director of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, told an audience at the Modern Day Marine 2019 expo.