Feeds

Northrop scoops DARPA mindreader-helmet threat visor cash

Electrode-hat paranoia specs will detect subversives

Intelligent flash storage arrays

American armaments goliath Northrop Grumman announced another huge technology coup this week. The company has won a Pentagon contract to develop a mindreading hat which will allow US soldiers to identify threats with unparalleled range and speed.

The military requirement was actually called Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), but Northrop don't have any truck with crazy acronyms of that type. Instead, they refer to the proposed kit as HORNET (Human-aided Optical Recognition/Notification of Elusive Threats)*.

"HORNET leverages the latest advances in real-time coupling of human brain activity with automated cognitive neural processing to provide superior target detection," says Michael House, Northrop exec in charge of brain-hat blackhat-detector kit.

HORNET is envisaged as a kind of mindprobe-augmented set of binoculars. As a soldier sweeps his surroundings in the hostile combat zones of 2012, "a custom helmet equipped with electro-encephalogram electrodes placed on the scalp" will be checking what his subconscious mind makes of what it is seeing. The idea is that the primitive parts of the human brain can spot threats which the conscious mind will miss.

When the paranoid id spots a threat, the HORNET intellect-o-specs will register this and flash up a marker on the screen, allowing the conscious mind to know what has spooked its deeper levels. The initial "breadboard" prototype test system is to cost $6.7m.

Long-time Reg readers won't have needed the headline to guess the source of the taxpayer greenbacks. Needless to say, CT2WS/HORNET is brought to you by DARPA, the famed Pentagon wingnut hothouse. The wacky military notioneers have always believed that America's brains could be its best weapon in the Wars On Stuff; though not, normally, quite so literally as this.

Northrop will lead a consortium of academic and industrial partners on the programme. ®

*We suggest Human-Enhanced Acquisition and Detection for Counterstrike in Advance of Surprise Events (HEADCASE). Or Neural Upgrade Technology Joined to Optical Binoculars (NUTJOB). Or even Manportable Intellect-Networked Detection Field-Utilised for Celeritous Kills (MINDFUCK)?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.