Written by Jon Paris
Edited by Tomas Farinha Carney
In a recently published video, the Australian army showcased a four-legged terrestrial drone being commanded by the brain waves of a nearby soldier. This connection was enabled by HoloLens, a combination of mixed smart glasses and a graphene biosensor attached to the soldier’s head, allowing the Vision 60 Ghost robot to perform up to six commands without any physical or oral input (Singh, 2022). The most basic command, such as ordering the robot to move to a certain location, is done through the soldiers’ commands, which are easily mastered after a few sessions (Plain, 2023). Additionally, the HoloLens divides the real-time image seen by the soldier into squares, allowing the controller to focus on each one before then choosing the best path for the robot; the soldier’s brainwaves are then detected by the visual cortex. This then signals an amplification circuit, which is then turned into an order by an AI decoder and sent to the robot (Singh, 2022). It must be noted that the project is still in an early phase of development, but even though the order system appears to be too basic to perform complex activities, the Australian soldiers were able to successfully conduct a building-clearing training operation using the previously described method (Singh, 2022).
Benefits and Potential Applications
One of the direct benefits provided by this system is its ability to interact with supportive equipment such as drones without cancelling other activities. If successfully implemented, it would allow for a silent, fast and precise command structure while also enabling a constant scanning of the surrounding areas, surveillance and perimeter defense actions (Plain, 2023). Additionally, these systems could excel in missions that are short-staffed, allowing units to cover up gaps that otherwise may have been neglected while still using the drone effectively.
Along the same line, enabling a hands-free management of the supportive equipment increases the overall efficiency of the squad, as it allows for greater firepower and better distribution of resources. However, the greatest potential benefit regarding this technology comes with the huge potential it holds in creating a new battlefield-adapted synergy between drones and their human operators. The possible inclusion of this technology in aerial drones, autonomous drone swarms, and autonomous ground weapons systems would represent a technological opportunity that should be kept in mind in the following years (Plain, 2023).
Plain, C. ( 2023. February 22). Soldiers use telepathy to control robot dogs with brain waves. The Debrief. https://thedebrief.org/soldiers-use-telepathy-to-control-robot-dogs-with-brain-waves-see-video/
Singh, H. (2022, June 9). Australian Soldiers Command Robotic Dog Through Brain Waves. The Defense Post. https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/06/09/soldiers-brain-command-robotic-dog/