One of the last things anyone should want is a machine-brain interface, even if it is a non-invasive type that doesn’t require brain surgery. However, the US military recently announced that it was throwing money at half a dozen organizations to come up with a system that lets its user control equipment with a thought.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants American soldiers to have the ability to use their equipment with their minds. A brain-machine interface would allow them to drive their automated vehicles and fire their weapons by merely thinking the command.
To achieve its objective, the agency revealed the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program. DARPA offered to provide six companies with the funding to design and develop a non-invasive machine-brain interface for American troops.
As imagined by DARPA, a user will wear a brain-machine interface on his head, perhaps indicating that it will fit underneath a helmet. The device will scan the wearer’s brainwaves and translate his brain activity into orders.
Using the non-invasive interface, an American soldier may send out swarms of attack drones, defend computer systems against cyber attack, or ensure efficient lines of communications.
DARPA expects the N3 program participants to present a working machine-brain interface within just four years. (Related: McDonald’s acquires machine-learning startup to develop personalized menus using A.I.)
DARPA wants brain-to-computer interface that lets American soldiers control their weapons with a thought
“DARPA is preparing for a future in which a combination of unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and cyber operations may cause conflicts to play out on timelines that are too short for humans to effectively manage with current technology alone,” explained N3 program manager Al Emondi.
“By creating a more accessible brain-machine interface that doesn’t require surgery to use, DARPA could deliver tools that allow mission commanders to remain meaningfully involved in dynamic operations that unfold at rapid speed.”
DARPA reportedly set aggressive benchmarks and timelines for the completion of preliminary examples of the machine-brain interface. Further, the agency also poured a considerable amount of funding into the program.
Two of the organizations participating in the N3 program reported receiving between $18 to $19.5 million of grant money.