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DARPA Working on Spidey Sense for Soldiers 191

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the everyone-riding-the-hype-wave dept.
anti-human 1 writes to tell us Wired is reporting that DARPA is developing a new optics system to help soldiers identify threats earlier. "The most far-reaching component of the binocs has nothing to do with the optics: it's Darpa's aspirations to integrate EEG electrodes that monitor the wearer's neural signals, cueing soldiers to recognize targets faster than the unaided brain could on its own. The idea is that EEG can spot 'neural signatures' for target detection before the conscious mind becomes aware of a potential threat or target. [...] In other words, like Spiderman's 'spider sense', a soldier could be alerted to danger that his or her brain had sensed, but not yet had time to process."
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DARPA Working on Spidey Sense for Soldiers

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  • by Vexor (947598) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:49AM (#18958671)
    Now if I could just get this web shooter to work.....
  • by nexuspal (720736) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:50AM (#18958705)
    I was reading a military close quarters combat manual and they made reference to a "sixth sense". It stated explicitly NOT to look directly at the enemy before you walk up to them and kill them silently one way or another. You are supposed to look at the ground by their feet and not think about them before you "off" them. It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision. I have yet to see science explain this...
    • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:57AM (#18958841) Homepage

      I was reading a military close quarters combat manual and they made reference to a "sixth sense". It stated explicitly NOT to look directly at the enemy before you walk up to them and kill them silently one way or another. You are supposed to look at the ground by their feet and not think about them before you "off" them.
      - Of course you shouldn't be looking directly at them. You should be looking at the path between you and them. If you walk up to someone while staring directly ahead you're more likely to stand on something loudly or trip or generally fuck up your silent approach. As for thinking about them, well it's generally not a good idea to concentrate too much on someone you're about to kill. The more you think about them the more real and human they become.

      It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision. I have yet to see science explain this...
      - I've yet to see anyone come up with a reliable and objective experiment that provided any evidence of a "sixth sense". Science can't explain something that hasn't been empirically observed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mi (197448)

        As for thinking about them, well it's generally not a good idea to concentrate too much on someone you're about to kill. The more you think about them the more real and human they become.

        True about entire societies. The more evolved, the truer — one may even perish completely, when confronted by another, which manages to concentrate on the mission of killing the enemy, instead of "seeing his side".

      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:22PM (#18959245) Homepage Journal

        It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision. I have yet to see science explain this...
        - I've yet to see anyone come up with a reliable and objective experiment that provided any evidence of a "sixth sense". Science can't explain something that hasn't been empirically observed.


        Okay, here's one:

        Pick someone, anyone, out of a crowd, on the highway (not recommended if you are driving), etc., from who you are out of their field of view. Stare at them intensely for a few seconds. Direct a strong emotion towards them if you can -- hate, fear, rage, etc. I guarantee you that most of them will look back at you nervously. It may not work for everyone because some people are less aware of their '6th sense' than others.

        • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:32PM (#18959373) Homepage

          Okay, here's one:

          Pick someone, anyone, out of a crowd, on the highway (not recommended if you are driving), etc., from who you are out of their field of view. Stare at them intensely for a few seconds. Direct a strong emotion towards them if you can -- hate, fear, rage, etc. I guarantee you that most of them will look back at you nervously. It may not work for everyone because some people are less aware of their '6th sense' than others.
          - I'll bet a million simoleans that this experiment will find that the number of people who are "aware of their 6th sense" happens to directly correspond to the number of people who would simply by chance turn around and wonder "WTF is that guy looking at?". Funny that. It may seem to the casual starer that more people turn and look at them, but it's simply a case of them subconsciously dismissing the people who don't turn but explicitly noticing the people who do. You might want to look into selection bias for more info on the topic.
          • by God'sDuck (837829) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @01:05PM (#18959925)
            And even if it were confirmed, there would be a better-than-reasonable chance that some primitive part of our brain processes input coming from peripheral vision, and sorts it for input that might correspond to potential threats -- like "pairs of eyes directed directly at our tasty flesh."
          • by Vexorian (959249)
            When I read both posts I just could think of something: Aren't we wasting too much time writing posts? Shouldn't someone try this experiment already and either kill the myth or find out it is not that much of a myth? Hmmm I guess I watched mythbusters way too much.
            • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @01:22PM (#18960225)
              Shouldn't someone try this experiment already and either kill the myth or find out it is not that much of a myth?


              When people want to believe in something extraordinary there's no way an experiment, no matter how well performed, will convince them of the contrary. They will always assume the experiment itself was faulty in some way.


              It seems that for some people the need to believe in something is so strong it overrides reason.

        • by mike2R (721965) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @01:17PM (#18960121)

          Pick someone, anyone, out of a crowd, on the highway (not recommended if you are driving), etc., from who you are out of their field of view. Stare at them intensely for a few seconds. Direct a strong emotion towards them if you can -- hate, fear, rage, etc. I guarantee you that most of them will look back at you nervously. It may not work for everyone because some people are less aware of their '6th sense' than others.

          Then get scientific evidence for it: Make absolutely sure that the observer cannot affect the environment of the subject in any way, and record the results.

          All sorts of EMP studies have been tried, and there is still no evidence for it. Given how easy it would be to get evidence if it did work, I think the only conclusion has to be that it doesn't.

          My own opinion of this sort of anecdotal evidence is that 1) it is very startling when someone who you are sure cannot see you looking at them turns and looks at you (hence we tend to remember it as important event), 2) it's not very remarkable when people don't turn when you are looking at them (so we tend to forget it), and 3) our brains very very good at making connections between tiny bits of sensory data and the possibility that someone is looking at us (so in our everyday lives we are likely to see a bias towards people noticing us watching them).

          • Anyway the "sixth sense" could tie into quantum mechanics? By observing an animate object you intend to destroy, that object's state is changed?

            Sorry, LOST is on tonight. I expect jumps from shaky science to Einsteinian physics to be explained on message boards on Wednesdays.
            • It's obvious that they're in an experience machine. It's the only theory that fit any of the facts established in the first season while also fitting the producers' claims that everything fits together, and they're not dead.

              It neatly ties in why the baby doctor had to be poisoned before arriving on the island, and the events of last week's episode.

              I shall be very surprised if it doesn't turn out to be either A) an experience machine or B)the writers have just been makin' stuff willy nilly since episode 3.
        • by glyph42 (315631)

          ... from who you are out of their field of view

          I think that's the problem right there. Most people have roughly a 180 degree field of view, especially when it comes to detecting eyes or faces looking in their direction. I can tell if someone is looking at me even if they are standing slightly behind me to one side, because I have a 210 degree peripheral field of view. That's with my eyes locked straight ahead. Also, people tend to scan their environment a little bit with their eyes, which increases that field of view without even turning their hea

        • by master_p (608214)
          Oh please! you never starred at a woman's butt or tits, have you?

          And no, this is not meant as a joke. Go to an airport terminal, find an attractive lady, and then watch how many guys stare at her 'goods' all the time. And she never realizes that fact.

          And before saying anything about women not having a 6th sense, let me reverse the example: pick a handsome guy, and watch how many ladies stare at him. And he never realizes.

          Finally, if you are in the geek category, pick a friend of yours and put him in watchin
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Brigadier (12956)

        This has more to do with empathy. Picture your enemy is a 14 y/o iraqi girl with an AK. looking her in the eyes will cause you to connect, question and pause. all of which can be fatal under threatening conditions.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          This has more to do with empathy. Picture your enemy is a 14 y/o iraqi girl ... looking her in the eyes will cause you to connect, question and pause. all of which can be fatal under threatening conditions

          If 14 year old girls that you have apparently freed from the oppression of a ruthless dictator are your enemy, then something has already gone very, very wrong

          • by nasch (598556)

            If 14 year old girls that you have apparently freed from the oppression of a ruthless dictator are your enemy, then something has already gone very, very wrong
            I don't know if there are any 14-year-old Iraqi girls who are our enemies, but in case you haven't been paying attention, yes - something has definitely gone very, very wrong. A great many things in fact. :-) or should I say :-(
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by rambag (961763)
        Yeah I did, my buddy is such an ass he's like, "yeah in the end you find out Bruce Willis' character has been dead the whole time" Oh did I just spoil it for you too.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by suitepotato (863945)
        As for thinking about them, well it's generally not a good idea to concentrate too much on someone you're about to kill. The more you think about them the more real and human they become.

        This is what separates normal people from sociopaths and it isn't a good thing to head down that road. You should think about what you're doing, who you're doing it to, and be able to do it anyways and deal with the thoughts of it later. This is what it is to fight in the most limited way and not come to enjoying the kil
      • by hoggoth (414195)
        Here is my explanation for the 'sixth sense'.

        Humans (and animals) are constantly scanning their environments, usually subconsciously.
        One input that instantly grabs our attention is someone staring at us.

        So if someone has not noticed the 'bush' slowly moving towards them because it has not registered on their conscious mind, the presense of two eyes staring at them from under the 'bush' will trigger alerts and raise the awareness of that input to a conscious level.

        Comes from millions of years of lions and ti
      • by morcego (260031)

        I've yet to see anyone come up with a reliable and objective experiment that provided any evidence of a "sixth sense".

        Maybe you mean "tangible", and not "reliable and objective". There are many things we consider real that are not be defined reliably nor objectively. Art is something of that sort. What differentiates a common object from an art object ? It is pretty subjective, but never the less real. Yes, we can come to an agreement on what art is, but thats just it: an agreement, a convention. It is not

    • by Eddi3 (1046882)
      For instance, If three kids are playing hide and seek, statistically, the kid who thinks of something else other then the game will be less likely to be found then the one who is thinking about the game (Why it's taking so long, or "OMG HES RIGHT ON TOP OF ME!!11")

      I'm young enough to pretty much confirm this, though I don't have a link to prove any of it. Anybody?
      • For instance, If three kids are playing hide and seek, statistically, the kid who thinks of something else other then the game will be less likely to be found then the one who is thinking about the game (Why it's taking so long, or "OMG HES RIGHT ON TOP OF ME!!11")

        I'm young enough to pretty much confirm this, though I don't have a link to prove any of it. Anybody?

        If your constantly thinking that you are more likely to move unconsciously because your mind isn't on keeping yourself totally still and quiet.

      • In both cases there's an obvious connection between what you're thinking and what's happening. In the first case, you're thinking about how long you've been hiding because you've been hiding for a long time: obviously the longer the seeker looks, the more likely he is to find you. And in the second case, if you're thinking about how another player is right on top of you, you're probably about to be found regardless of what you think about. And because the human mind is so good at recognizing patterns, it na
    • by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:01PM (#18958911) Journal
      It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision. I have yet to see science explain this...

      Science doesn't have to explain it. That part comes after proving that it actually exists.
    • by geek (5680) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:06PM (#18959005) Homepage
      I remember studies from the late 90's about human perception, specifically in regards to insects. Ever notice a small spider out of the corner of your eye while watching TV? Ever wake up from a DEAD sleep to find a spider hanging over you? It was proposed that humans developed a "sixth sense" like this during our evolution to protect us from smaller and more deadly creatures such as poisonous snakes and spiders. The idea is that we percieve more around us than we are consciously aware of and our subconscious has the ability to red flag certain things and awake our consciousness to it. Speaking from personal experience, I have woken out of a dead sleep and found a spider over me, several times. I thought to myself "what a coincidence", but after hearing about the studies, whenever they were, I can't find them now, I realize it's very possible we have a sort of sixth sense in the non literal meaning of the words.

      My guess is that this type of perception is what they are alluding to. The "gut instinct" of it.
      • by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:16PM (#18959155)

        I thought to myself "what a coincidence"
        If you're like most people, that wasn't your first thought.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by airhed13 (732958)
        In those spider situations, I always figured the bugger'd been crawling on my face and spun back up above my head when it realized I was waking up and moving around. The light pitter-patter of spider shoes has woken me up from a deep sleep more than once in my life. I just count myself lucky that I woke up before it crawled into my mouth.
      • by dave420 (699308)
        Or maybe when you sleep, you involuntarily open your eyes sometimes, and not fully wake up, and go back to sleep. If there's a spider, your brain notices the spider and wakes you up. That's the danger of anecdotal evidence for phenomena like this - you don't know about the 50,000 other times spiders have been above you when you sleep that you didn't see because you didn't open your eyes during sleep to see them, and so your brain didn't wake you up, throwing doubt on your literal spidey sense.

        As for "gut
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by krbvroc1 (725200)
      You sure thats not called a conscience? I would think removing the 'personal' factor and dehumanizing your enemy, you might reduce some combat stress and guilt that you just killed another human being. I wonder if this recommendation is more for mental health reasons or perhaps for both.

      I kinda have a 'sixth sense' that someone is staring at this post right now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by vertinox (846076)
      It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision.

      Try this today.

      1. Get in a car and drive until you reach a red stop light.
      2. Look at other person.
      3. Watch them instantly look back at you.

      Or in reverse

      1. Get in a car and drive until you reach a red stop light.
      2. Don't look at other person until you feel them looking.
      3. Look at them quickly and watch them turn their head away.

      One of th
      • I've always thought it was simply my peripheral vision, which is very sensitive to movement, seeing their head turn. I often watch people, but don't like being seen watching, so I will often watch people when stopped at a light by just turning my eyes, and not my head. In this case, people never look back unless their eyes are just wandering.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BWJones (18351) *
      OK, so this is just more mil-speak bullshit. I've heard more generals and colonels talk about science issues on which they have no concept just to hear themselves speak. There has been more bad science done in the name of the military than I would like to admit and this is marketing speak designed around that.

      *If* you are going to kill someone, particularly someone who can/will fight back, then you damn well better be prepared to pay attention to what you are doing. The whole reason that one is admonishe
      • .... We don't see higher mathematical dimensions like amphibians or fishes do and we don't have lateral lines like fishes do

        Could someone please explain this to me? I've never heard of either concept before.
        • by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:38PM (#18959467) Homepage Journal
          Could someone please explain this to me? I've never heard of either concept before.

          Humans see principally in three "channels", red, green and blue due to the opsins in your photoreceptors. There is some evidence that some women are tetrachromats however. At any rate, these three opsins give us color discrimination in three mathematical dimensions. However, fish and amphibian eyes are much more complicated than ours. For example, the turtle likely sees in at least seven channels of vision, perceiving a world we could never hope to imagine and here is another fact: In the zebrafish, despite their retinas being much more complex and sophisticated than ours, can repair their retinas from damage whereas we are currently screwed if our retinas go bad.

          IAAVS (I am a vision scientist), and neuroscientist.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I dunno about the ability to see higher dimensions, never heard of that concept myself either. I know that many, if not most, fish have a very different field of vision and see in a different part of the spectrum than do humans. (Deep dwelling species don't need to see the wavelengths that are filtered out by the first few feet of water.)
          However, lateral lines are found on a lot of vertebrate sea life. They are lines of neural tissue that run down the body of the critter. The exact structure differs dependi
          • by wellingj (1030460)
            I dunno about the ability to see higher dimensions, never heard of that concept myself either.
            Think color dimensions, not time/space/x dimensions.....
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      You are supposed to look at the ground by their feet and not think about them before you "off" them.

      Couldn't have anything to do with looking at where you're going, or maybe not having the whites of your eyes give you away -- humans are good at identifying faces, so face down makes that more difficult. It probably also is intended to not make you dwell on the fact that you're about to kill a person.

      It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pQueue (1091881)

      It is amazing to me how many people do not believe that we have a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision. I have yet to see science explain this...

      Experiments have shown exactly the opposite. Test subjects are unable to tell if someone was looking at them or not in a rigorous test. The real question is why people believe you can, which can be answered by psychology: you remember the hits and not the misses. When you turn and someone is

      • I've heard the same thing. I'd have modded you up but you gave no sources. I can't find any with a quick search. Do you know any?

        People want so bad to find patterns and magic in the world. That's why people believe in gods, supernatural phenomena, astrology, etc.
    • by dave562 (969951)
      There are a lot of things that Western science hasn't gotten around to "explaining" yet. A lot of Eastern traditions like yoga, tai chi and the like have been dealing with qi and universal energy for a long time. Once you've been exposed to the "phenomena" first hand, it's pretty hard to discount it. When you come across those who haven't had similar exposures, they will call you a looney quack and demand scientific proof.
      • Speaking as someone who has done some aikido, I can tell you these "phenomena" aren't necessarily mystical or spiritual. It's amazing how a small adjustment in posture--turning your hips more, or straightening your back--can turn a feeble attempt at a throw into a powerful move. This isn't qi as much as mechanics. However, the sorts of things our sensei would tell us improve our control of qi, like remaining loose, and breathing deeply, also happen to be the sorts of things that form your body into the righ
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dave562 (969951)
          I will completely agree that proper body mechanics will help you generate better jin, which is the manifestation of qi when your body is the conduit. When I talk about "phenomena" level things, I'm talking about healers who can do the laying hands on type of stuff that some people swear only happened during the times of Jesus, and can only be done by people who are directly descendent from God. On the subject of sixth sense, I tend to believe that such a sixth sense can be encouraged through meditation an
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)

      a sixth sense, the ability to know someone is looking at you even though they are not in your field of vision. I have yet to see science explain this...

      Okay, it is a known fact [citation needed] that we see small details with the central part of our field of view, the peripheral area being more sensitive to movements and variations of light. These detections have their own fast circuits to react to dangerous things. People dodge before looking when a dark thing appear on top of their head, catching or deflecting a ball is slower than a reflex but faster than conscious act.

      It is less known that the resolution of this peripheral area is better than what

    • by Catullus (30857)
      You're referring to the "sense of being stared at". People have actually done experiments [csicop.org] to test this; most scientists are skeptical that it exists, but some people [sheldrake.org] claim that they have evidence that it does.
    • The "sixth sense" is your brain absorbing and processing and reacting to inputs which have not been trained enough to result in articulable commentary.

      Higher cognitive processes screen out LOTS of material to prevent overloading - that doesn't mean lower cognitive processes aren't getting that material and doing something useful with them. There's a tremendous amount of auditory/visual/etc. stimulus which _does_ have meaning, but which is not rationally considered. You subconciously perceive them, and part
    • by Eivind (15695)
      You don't have to explain something that does not, infact, exist.

      Fact is, it is very easy, near trivial, to test if people can infact detect being looked upon from behind.

      Fact is, if you did, and succeeded, you'd qualify for a cool million bucks from the Randi Foundation

      Sad fact is, neither you, nor any of the rest of the crackpots will bother attempting this, instead you'll go on babbling, repeatedly *claiming* that it is true, rather than *demonstrating* that it is, infact, true. Because deep down i

  • by bitRAKE (739786) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:52AM (#18958729) Homepage
    I get the same effect from too much coffee.
  • "My spider sense is tingling, anyone call for a webslinger?"

    Sorry for the obligatory Simpsons quote.
  • How is this better? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tofystedeth (1076755)
    So if I understand it right from the article, our brain is constantly sending out danger signals that we ignore. This technology will then sense those danger signals and beep or flash red or something? So now we have another danger signal that needs to follow all the same routing. Does this cause a feedback loop? If there is something dangerous enough that our brain can recognize it would we not maybe notice it before the machine reading our brain? It sounds like we have a lot of these danger signals.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      We already have such feedback loops as you describe. One of them is called "panic". It's not impossible to train the brain to ignore such loops, and probably even easier to train the machine.
    • by Vexor (947598)
      I kind of envisioned the Terminator like view. Little target reticles on a visor in front of your face. I'm not sure if this device would be sensing stuff all around you or just in front of you. I think their goal is to reduce the amount of reaction:action time gap. Spend more time being proactive about the danger then reacting.

      As the OP mentioned though if every piece of trash tumling by sets it off that would be a great recipe for a psychotic breakdown. Paranoia here I come!

    • Is sneak up behind someone wearing that rig and pop a paper bag full of air.....
  • Altered Carbon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:06PM (#18959001) Homepage
    Anyone who has read Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan will recognise this. In the book, cloned bodies have improved reflexes, reaction times, even better responses to pain. Fall over a ledge, your augmented brain has a reflex action to grab something, which is faster and more accurate than normal.

    In the book, ordinary people with enough money can get the tech. If you meet someone who has better tech than you, they can almost certainly take you down with little effort. Every move you make, they see first and move faster to counter.
    • Thank God, just when I thought I was the only person who's actually read those books. Supposedly Morgan is done with Kovacs, which is too bad. Market Forces was entertaining, but it somehow managed to be less plausible than his books about the body-swapping mercenary/detective/serial killer. Go figure.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)
        IKWYM, I was not as taken with Market Forces as with the Kovacs books. I wonder, are you American? You sound like it from the way you write. As British characters, they did seem somewhat plausable to me. It's a somewhat logical extension of the way things are going here. The gap between the rich and poor gets bigger. The rich use their power and money to build walled estates. They try to own the road with the Chelsea Tractors (4x4s or SUVs as I think they are known in the US). If the proposed road charging
  • by lawaetf1 (613291) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:08PM (#18959049)
    For the life of me I can't find the article but there was a recent publication about how soldiers don't like all this high-tech gear. And I can imagine why. Outside of body armor (and soldiers say there's such a thing as too much) and good communication a lot of this junk is over-hyped whiteboard warrior stuff that gobbles up billions of dollars of DoD R&D.

    Within the article:

    "It's unclear what the final system will look like." but "Darpa says it expects to have prototypes in the hands of soldiers in three years."

    Sure. It's like the Popular Science covers of the 1960s "Flying cars tomorrow! Pick your model today!"

    If we really want to helps soldiers brains, help them come back from a bogus war with fewer instances of PTSD and other psychological damage.
    • A squad equipped with unified system of all these high tech ideas we've been reading about could act as elite shock troops to anchor normally equipped troops, just as Roman regular army squads were used to supplement and strengthen the typical mercenary and conscript troops.

      Just off the top of my head, in the last few months there have been slashdot articles about:
      • lighter, stronger body armor with the ability to flex and "breathe".
      • a blood cooling system which exponentially increases muscles' endurance.
      • Even pilots in the Vietnam war got sick of all of the electronics barraging them in combat. They started turning off many of the alarms and alert signals leaving on only the ones they though were really important.

        Complex systems also increase the chances of an equipment failure. German tanks in WWII were overengineered and prone to breakdowns.
    • future soldiers will have been trained on these systems the way todays kids are on video games.

      I saw a documentary on the development of the joint strike fighter - and the simulator. they bought kids in and let them use it. they incorporated their feedback. they wanted to make it feel as close to a video game as possible... the experience of flying the jsf.

      my mother tried texting once. she quickly gave up. i text frequently... but i'm apparently not as cool a texter as my nephew - who at 11 whizzes across a
    • by bendodge (998616)

      Sure. It's like the Popular Science covers of the 1960s "Flying cars tomorrow! Pick your model today!"
      DARPA has a tendency of predicting innovations correctly, mainly because they are the ones innovating.
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:14PM (#18959133)
    Also called "Dysfunction of Sensory Integration". It's a neurological condition where the brain has difficulty putting certain sensory signals "in the background". Say, for example, you put on a wristwatch this morning. Eventually your brain goes "OK...wrist watch...left arm...I get it", and you stop becomming constantly aware of the watch. You know it's there, the nerves in your arm can still detect it, but the brain pushes it into the background because it does not need to keep reminding you it's there.

    A tactile DSI, would always feel like they just put that watch on, it can be quite irritating after a while. Tactile DSIs often do things like cut tags off of thier clothing and take other such steps to minimize the sensory overload they are exposed to.

    I'm an auditory DSI, I have a hard time blocking out background noise and often times, it competes with what I should be paying attention to. My work-around is to wear wireless full-coverage headphones that pipe in soft classical music. Thus, I reduce the distractions to a single source that is easy to manage.

    These days however, I have an office so I can also just close my door.

    Based upon my experience, I say this won't work like they hope it will.
  • great (Score:1, Troll)

    by spykemail (983593)
    I can't wait for the spidey sense to kill an unarmed civilian. Oh wait, we don't need advanced technology for that.
  • The more of a burden it can be. However, I think that one day we'll see variants of these kinds of enhancements. This just seems like a transitional step to a "wetware" system of some sort. This kinda thing HAS to be a possibility. We've been adapting to the dangers of our existence for quite some time.
    • Yes, but a device that make you fire at anything that moves before your brain has the time to identify it might not be the best way to handle the dangers of our existence, even for a soldier.
  • Book: Blink (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ZirbMonkey (999495)
    Everyone has a sixth sense about making split second decisions. Professional soldiers who've been in combat situations over their life gain subcontious instincts that let them spot things that "don't seem right." But this is experience one gains over time from encountering lots of examples.

    This technology would merely make your subcontious more contious. But it doesn't tell you anything that you don't already know. Green recruits dropped into combat with this technology wouldn't get any use out of it,
  • The soldiers don't even have enough of the existing technology and we are wasting money on spider sensing devices that will cost millions of dollars AFTER being developed. This will never be in the hands of more than a dozen soldiers if the tech makes it that far.

    Forget this AND forget the armor they don't have. We don't need enough armored vehicles for a large scale offensive anyway. What we need to preserve what we have. Congress needs to grow some balls and recall the troops by refusing to grant addition
  • Articulation of perception is just the last step in a long complex mental process.

    Just because you can't explain something in a rational symbolic cognitive socially-accepted linguistic framework doesn't mean you haven't perceived it.

    Tools that help enhance and articulate these perceptions would be very useful - especially in war.

    On a related note: may I suggest The Science and Art of Tracking [amazon.com].
  • If service age kids get their hands on this equipment it could be a disaster for recruiting.

    "Danger Danger young Will Robinson! Don't go in there! Try community college first at least!"
  • from Hard-Lovin' Loser: [numachi.com]
    He's the kind of cowboy got a hot trigger finger
    Shoots his boot 'cause he's drawing kind of slow...

    'Course you gotta have gray hair (if any) to remember that ditty.
  • TFA is interesting but there's a lot else that can be done. I'm skeptical that a soldier would not get very tired in this setup, being wired into it, and that he could do better than a robotic unit could at this recognition of dim distant moving targets.

    There were some posts about a "sixth sense" i.e. electromagnetic or something spooky. Maybe so, maybe we can sense quantum phenomena even but most likely this is an illusion that is based on a "background thread" circuit that is triggered by matching combina
    • I read something similar about putting a metal detector and a buzzer in combat boots to avoid walking on landmines, but althouth it looks far more practical than the SF thingy in TFA, I don't know if it was actually implemented and deployed.
  • I think this will cause more friendly fire accidents.....
  • The article and the project bother me.

    The Wired headline makes it sound like this is a sure-fire thing. Umm... DARPA sometimes makes stuff that will work on the battlefield, but lots of times their projects fail. That's the nature of their mission. "As early as three years" really means, "We hope it makes it into service in three years, but it'll likely be more like six, if at all."

    As for the actual combat effectiveness of a system like this, it seems like it *might* be helfpul for one of those free-fir

  • Doesn't it mean to shoot before thinking ? Isn't this happening enough already ?

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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