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The Military Communications Science Technology

US Army To Develop "Thought Helmets" 226

Hugh Pickens writes "Time Magazine reports on a $4 million US Army contract to begin developing 'thought helmets' to harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops that the Army hopes will 'lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.' The Army's initial goal is to capture brain waves with software that translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. 'It'd be radio without a microphone,' says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. 'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.' The key challenge will be to develop software able to pinpoint speech-related brain waves and pick them up with a 128-sensor array that ultimately will be buried inside a helmet. Scientists deny charges that they're messing with soldiers' minds. 'A lot of people interpret wires coming out of the head as some sort of mind reading,' says Dr. Mike D'Zmura. 'But there's no way you can get there from here.' One potential civilian spin-off: a Bluetooth Helmet so people nearby can't hear you when you talk on your cell phone."
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US Army To Develop "Thought Helmets"

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  • Prior to the filter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @05:20AM (#25083473) Homepage

    Wouldn't this take stuff before people have the ability to filter what they say and speak it out loud?

  • by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. ... isiurc_tuo_neeb.> on Saturday September 20, 2008 @06:14AM (#25083651) Homepage Journal

    It sounds like they're tapping into the signals that would normally be sent to the muscles (not to the motor nerves themselves, but the last stage prior to them). In a computer analogy, this would be like reading signals between the filesystem driver and the physical device driver - all the "filtering" of what you would actually say has probably already been done. Similarly, this wouldn't catch fleeting thoughts which you would never vocalize. On the other hand, it quite possibly *would* catch thoughts which you would normally say only under your breath or when the mic is off. There's still plenty of potential for embarassment...

  • by stranger_to_himself ( 1132241 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @06:28AM (#25083689) Journal

    For "silent" communication I can see morse being communicated that way, but reading words from the brain ? Maybe one can train people to concentrate and clearly form a few specific patterns which can then be recognized afterward and translated to words, but i doubt you could learn and differentiate so many patterns as to have a wordly communication. Furthermore in the midst of fire exchange, I doubt this would be easier to use than a radio.

    I don't think adults can easily learn to use their brains in an entirely new way like this. Maybe if you gave a really young child one of these with some kind of visual feedback for them they could develop a more sophisticated way of communicating with it.

    Or better yet, maybe deaf kids could use this to talk amongst themselves. It would have to be started very young though, so the brain could develop and strengthen the areas needed. Actually this is now sounding a bit like the plot from The Midwitch Cuckoos.

  • by garydchance ( 1368041 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:09AM (#25083797)
    Although it is fascinating to see this published by the US Army, it reflects such activity carried out extensively as surveillance which I've experienced as a target for 7.5 years since 02.2001 thanks to former US Marines Colonel Vine and Lt Harry Bird. They are still at it as of this writing. This is just a limited battlefield adaptation when soldiers are wearing their helmets. Such brain waving monitoring, i.e., son of TEMPEST, actually picks up all thoughts and images accurately and will translate the word thoughts into audible language. I suspect that images are so translated as well since I've gotten accurate descriptions of images I think about as well as language. The US Army also has S2K (Sound-to-Skull) where sound is transferred by means of electromagnetic radiation so that the target can hear someone using it. Since I've been subjected to this, I've been able to hear all that they want me to hear and then some which is an enormous amount enabling me to learn all about this neuroscience application. It is mind control with obedience training through abuse and torture carried out for social engineering. It's used as a surveillance weapon to monitor all the human senses and feedback similar neurological impulses for various reasons: pain, muscle movement, sound, images and surreptitious medication to debilitate and incapacitate. If you suspect that your telephone is tapped, doesn't that change your behaviour? Expect this feedback process to be used on the battlefield too as well as against civilians in the manner it is being used experimentally against me continuously for control purposes. What has hit Time magazine is essentially trivial when compared with what is actually being done. Thanks for noting this article, and I hope everyone gets on this to dig into what is really going on. Don't be put off by anyone who tries to deny this as an aspect of mind reading. It is exactly that and the reality of what is being done is far, far worse that does not require a helmet or sensors to pick up the electromagnetic radiation surrounding the brain. Similarly, every electronic device in a computer can be so monitored and controlled which has been done to my computers for a decade. The human brain is just another computer with its electricity generated by chemical reactions. TEMPEST has come a long way in the past five decades.
  • ALS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @09:53AM (#25084519) Homepage
    My late father in law (2004) could have used something like this for speech, ALS effectively cut him off completely for the last month or two of his life.
  • Hillarious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bender0x7D1 ( 536254 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @05:43PM (#25087887)

    'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.'


    It's been a long time since I had as good a laugh as when I read that statement.

  • Re:change thinking? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 20, 2008 @06:34PM (#25088295)

    "changing the way you think" is also called training, learning new skills, getting over addictions, etc.

    I understand people have a squeamishness about changing what goes on in their heads, I do also, but that kind of feeling doesn't automatically make it a bad thing. It can also be a good thing.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.