The Loh Down On Science

Brainy Binoculars

The latest in target detection technology: binoculars that read brain waves.

What now--binoculars that can read your mind?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science

And the latest in target detection technology.

Ordinary binoculars are great at visually bringing close what's far away. Birds, buildings, your neighbor's window--

As such, they're indispensible to the military but. . .

Binoculars only show what's in front of you. Objects on the periphery might get missed.

Now, researchers working for the Department of Defense have developed a brainy new binocular. It uses "neuromorphic" engineering--technology plus brain power.

The device is dubbed HORNET - Human-aided Optical Recognition/Notification of Elusive Threats. HORNET.

Via a special helmet, electrodes on the user's scalp record brain activity. When you see something interesting--say, a suspiciously moving bush-- the system stores your response. Over time, brainwaves "train" the device to recognize potential threats.

With 120-degree vision, HORNET picks up where your eyes leave off, scanning far and wide for objects that might go undetected, and saying, "Hey, look at that!"

Developers say HORNET represents a giant leap in military surveillance.

And they're WAY cooler than those x-ray specs at the back of comic books. And they don't have that picture of the bra in them. You know what I mean?

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