Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announced that it was awarded a contract to develop electronic binoculars that use brain activity to detect threats. The press release is here. My company is proud to partner with Northrop on this project.
The project seeks to present a panoramic day/night optical system to a user and monitor brain waves – yes, brain waves – to detect targets of interest. A panoramic view and high-resolution image was deemed very important for this project, which is why Sensics panoramic displays were chosen.
However, the drive to present users with diverse visual stimuli and measure brain activity is certainly not unique to the defense markets. We are working with several academic institutions to achieve much of the same goals within a research context.
Presenting users with narrow field of view displays could be considered not to put the human brain to full use as a super-fast object/pattern recognition computer. This is especially true given that difference parts of the visual field are used for different purposes: central vision is used for reading and perception of fine detail. Peripheral vision is used in humans and also in animals for threat detection, sensing movement and presence of peripheral objects. Try walking around with toilet paper rolls on your eyes (see this demo on the Washington Post) and you’ll understand how critical peripheral vision is.