In the wars of the future, solider’s eyes alone won’t be enough to hunt down insurgents. They’ll need a little bit of extra help from the new brain wave-powered binoculars that DARPA just invented. Nicknamed the “Luke Skywalker” binoculars when they were first being developed, these things can not only see for miles but also work in tandem with an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap worn by the soldiers to improve enemy detection. And you thought Google Glass was cool.
At first glance, the Skywalker Specs look pretty mundane: a beige box with a bunch of wires coming out the back. Inside, they’re full of goodies. Officially known as the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS) and five years in the making, the main component is a 120-megapixel camera — your silly iPhone 5 only has eight megapixels — with a 120-degree field of view capable of seeing as far as six miles away. This hooks up to a laptop running cognitive visual processing algorithms that takes its input not only from the tripod mounted camera but also the EEG cap on the operator’s head. Like some device in a Philip K. Dick novel, this cap literally reads the soldier’s mind while he’s scanning the horizon for threats and flags any suspicious areas.