When we see things, it takes a few seconds for us to consciously understand what that thing is, exactly. There is a very short period of time between the brain receiving an image and the brain processing said image in a meaningful fashion. For the most part, it doesn't matter: You might open the fridge and stand perplexed for a moment, wondering what the frig this oblong white container is before recognizing that it's yogurt and putting it back in disgust. But whenever we see something dangerous, it sends out the P300 brainwave (you remember; the terrorist wave from earlier.)
Tracking that wave can mean something substantially more important than spotting yogurt before some accidentally gets in your mouth. If only there was some way to speed the image-to-danger-recognition process up, our soldiers could spot threats instantly and effectively gain superpowers.
"Either Al Qaeda's behind that hill ... or I've got a sinus headache."
And that's exactly what DARPA did. Meet Sentinel, which stands for "SystEm for Notification of Threats Inspired by Neurally Enabled Learning." Sentinel is the working designation for a pair of "cognitive-neural binoculars." This sounds like Star Trek gibberish at first, but the description is actually pretty accurate: When you put on a Sentinel rig and scan a battlefield, anything your brain registers as dangerous instantly triggers a series of flashing lights. Never again will one of our brave soldiers comically double-take over an enemy sniper pointing a barrel of death right at him. Because, technically speaking, his brain knows that threat is there well before his uh ... brain ... realizes it, we guess?
Whatever. All that matters is that it really works. When they tested Sentinel against regular ol' stupid binoculars, the Sentinel soldiers found 30 percent more threats on the battlefield. That's right: They were a full third more likely to sense imminent danger than a normal, unassisted human being. That's friggin' Spidey Sense!
"Psychic? Oh, no, I'm just getting a migraine. The gestures are exactly the same -- it can't be helped."
Now, if we could just get DARPA to fund our Military Web Shooters and Pun Generation Mouthpiece, we could have Battle Spider-Men deployed within the decade.
Agneeth can be contacted at Agneeth152@gmail.com. XJ is an aspiring cyborg, and in his free-time he talks about the adventures of writing on his blog. Also, he'll love you for a whole minute if you follow him on Twitter.
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