Pentagon researchers are looking for ways to control military drones with brain waves

Imagine a time in the not-so-distant future when military drones armed with Hellfire missiles are controlled not by a joystick or computer keyboard, but by the mind of a soldier who can maneuver the craft with his thoughts, guiding it to a target and then launching a devastating attack.

That day is not so far off, according to Futurism:

“The Pentagon is trying build tech that would give soldiers the ability to control deadly military drones with their minds.


“’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, DARPA neuroscientist Al Emondi told MIT Tech Review.”

This is the RQ-4 Global Hawk, one of the most advanced unmanned vehicles the U.S. military has (Via Wikimedia Commons)

A team at Carnegie Mellon University is already hard at work on creating a brain-computer interface (BCI) that wouldn’t have to be surgically implanted in a user, but could instead be worn on the head. But the very idea of such an invention being used to control drones raises some difficult questions:

“What happens if a soldier accidentally thinks a command, for example? Or an enemy gets their hands on one of the devices and wears it themselves?”

Not a new idea


None of this is new. As a matter of fact, a Kickstarter campaign has been created for a mind-controlled drone:

“The mind-controlled drone is the work EEGSmart, a Chinese company focused on the development of brain-machine interface (BMI) technology — and according to New Atlas writer Loz Blain, who got a chance to test the device, “It’s not perfect, but it does give a glimpse of a mind-controlled future.”


But the larger issue here is creating an interface that would allow users to strap on a device and control every device they have, be it their cell phone or smart TV.

Such technology could also revolutionize how we deal with health problems:

“With such a device, people with missing limbs or paralysis could control prosthetics or even full-body exoskeletons using just their minds — and all without undergoing surgery.”

A 3-D printed prosthetic hand like this one could one day be controlled by brain waves (Via Wikimedia Commons)


The new warfare front


While the U.S. military tries to find the perfect interface for controlling drones that would be used on battlefields across the globe, the real danger is that it could open up a new front for warfare, including one that would be used by our adversaries.


Additionally, the military is also striving to create a new type of soldier that can be used to replace humans altogether, conjuring up nightmares replete with “Terminator” style proto-warriors that are used to conduct battles.


Is this the future of warfare? (Public Domain)

The merging of brain and machine has long been the subject of science fiction, but with each new technological advance, we also draw closer to a future that may hold outcomes we cannot possibly imagine.


Featured Image Via Wikimedia Commons 


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