Communicating silently through the mind sounds at home in a Marvel film, but now the US Army is delivering technology to do it. With that said, it may be a while before tangible results are seen. 

Research funded by the US Army has managed to decode brain signals that impact action, and has also managed to separate signals that change behaviour from those that do not.

As a result of this breakthrough, it’s hoped that machines will be able to understand the intentions of soldiers and correct them before action is taken. This could protect soldiers by detecting stress, and it seems the technology could have even more significant use if further research is successful.

The US Army is developing a tech to read soldiers' minds
The US Army is developing a tech to read soldiers’ minds

After analysing the signals of a monkey reaching for a ball repeatedly, the US Army began to recognise brain signals for action. On the back of this isolation of signals, it is believed that stress may be able to be monitored in soldiers and acted upon. While this would be useful, there are even grander ambitions for the technology.

It is hoped that if the decoding of signals is successful, that soldiers could talk to one another via brain signals and a computer on the battlefield. However, at the moment just decrypting signals is a challenge.

Hamid Krim, a program manager for the Army Research Office, explained to C4ISRNET the challenges involved with the technology:

You can read anything you want; doesn’t mean that you understand it, the next step after that is to be able to understand it. The next step after that is to break it down into words so that … you can synthesize in a sense, like you learn your vocabulary and your alphabet, then you are able to compose.

There are clearly several phases that need to be researched before the hopes of the US Army is fully realised. With only $6.25 million being allocated in funding over the next five years, it doesn’t seem that the US Army is too hopeful about the outcome of this technology. On the other hand, the fact that brain signals are being researched in this way is interesting.

Hopefully, these mind experiments will be more successful than the US Army’s LSD ventures of the 60s.

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