Tongue = Battlefield Probe?


Ok, ok. I know the topic is a couple of days old. And I know it was mentioned in yesterday's Rapid Fire. When when Jimmy Wu sent in a short post about using tongues to make better sense of the battlefield, well, I couldn't resist.tongue_brain.jpgIn Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein envisioned troopers using their heads and tongues to turn on/off the infrared snoopers, plasma and bomb aiming reticles, moving map overlays, jump jets, etc, of their powered armor suitsThe future just got closer, reports the AP.Researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition developed a "Brain Port" that puts 144 electrods on the tongue. The pattern of electrode firing convey information such as sonar returns and compass headings. Michael Zinszer, a diver, described it as "Pop Rocks candies". The research team has built the system for sonar and compasses, and plans to integrate infrared sensors.This is a logical next step, as the tongue has more nerve endings per inch than most other parts of the skin.Modern human-machine interfaces are approaching the threshold of information overload. For example, fighter cockpits used to be full of analog gauges and TV screens. It takes a long time for pilots to learn which gauges were important when. Even with the advent of multi-function displays, pilots still struggle with information management. Infantrymen, and maybe a few German infantrywomen, will soon face the same problem. For example, the Land Warrior soldier ensemble gives soldiers outputs from GPS, text and voice comm links, LLTV and IR cameras, and moving map displays. And soldiers still have to contend with the regular inputs from their Mk I, Mod 0 eyeballs and ears.It will be interesting to see whether the "Brain Port" will allow soldiers to process more information than before. If it will, the brain port will herald a revolution in human information processing. For example, in stock trading, the analysts can "look" at more data and make better decisions. And our soldiers will "see" better than our enemies.-- Jimmy Wu

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