The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a “neural interface” which will allow soldiers and machines to connect through thought. The Next-Generation Non-Surgical Neurotechnology, or N3, program is a project which will aim to create the futuristic tech. While the fine details on how soldiers will be able to control technology with their mind are currently unfinished, the basic premise is that soldiers may have to ingest different chemical compounds to help external sensors read their brain activity, ultimately allowing them to control the technology using their mind.
The other will be a non-invasive technology that will monitor the brain and the machine.
DARPA neuroscientist Al Emondi told MIT Tech Review: “Working with drones and swarms of drones, operating at the speed of thought rather than through mechanical devices — those types of things are what these devices are really for.”
Mr Emondi said last year: “We don’t think about N3 technology as simply a new way to fly a plane or to talk to a computer, but as tool for actual human-machine teaming.
“As we approach a future in which increasingly autonomous systems will play a greater role in military operations, neural interface technology can help warfighters build a more intuitive interaction with these systems.
“The tools we use have grown more sophisticated over time … but these still require some form of physical control interface—touch, motion or voice.
“What neural interfaces promise is a richer, more powerful and more natural experience in which our brains effectively become the tool.”
A team at Carnegie Mellon University is currently testing whether electrical and ultrasound signals from the brain can be used for external technologies.
And while the military gets first offerings, this sort of technology is bound to spill out to the public in the ensuing future.
Professor Jacob Robinson of Rice University, the DARPA research team co-ordinator, explained to Express.co.uk earlier this year: “Following the clinical trials we can imagine consumer products being developed, involving a traditional transition and those development time could range between 10-20 years.”
And the cutting-edge technology’s applications will not only be restricted to controlling drones and military computers.
Applications also include therapies for people who have lost the ability to receive sensory information or to communicate.
Professor Robinson explained: “Applications can include patients who are ‘locked in’ or paralysed and we also think this technology could be used in the commercial sector and in the military – perhaps even recreationally, as it allows much faster communication with you computer.”