Soldiers get snake sensors, fish feelings and owl awareness

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Soldiers get snake sensors, fish feelings and owl awareness

Now this is amazing, not only in what it would mean for soldiers being able to get around in the dark and unusual envoronments, afterall they already have night goggles for that, but what about impaired people?

More on site and pic.

PENSACOLA, Fla. Apr 24, 2006 (AP)— In their quest to create the super warrior of the future, some military researchers aren't focusing on organs like muscles or hearts. They're looking at tongues.

By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.

Researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition envision their work giving Army Rangers 360-degree unobstructed vision at night and allowing Navy SEALs to sense sonar in their heads while maintaining normal vision underwater turning sci-fi into reality.

The device, known as "Brain Port," was pioneered more than 30 years ago by Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita, a University of Wisconsin neuroscientist. Bach-y-Rita began routing images from a camera through electrodes taped to people's backs and later discovered the tongue was a superior transmitter.

A narrow strip of red plastic connects the Brain Port to the tongue where 144 microelectrodes transmit information through nerve fibers to the brain. Instead of holding and looking at compasses and bluky-hand-held sonar devices, the divers can processes the information through their tongues, said Dr. Anil Raj, the project's lead scientist.

In testing, blind people found doorways, noticed people walking in front of them and caught balls. A version of the device, expected to be commercially marketed soon, has restored balance to those whose vestibular systems in the inner ear were destroyed by antibiotics.

Michael Zinszer, a veteran Navy diver and director of Florida State University's Underwater Crime Scene Investigation School, took part in testing using the tongue to transmit an electronic compass and an electronic depth sensor while in a swimming pool.

He likened the feeling on his tongue to Pop Rocks candies.

"You are feeling the outline of this image," he said. "I was in the pool, they were directing me to a very small object and I was able to locate everything very easily."
By netchicken: posted on 26-4-2006

I posted this article in the science forum, was gonna post it in here but felt it wasn't quite ready for military use yet.
By YCON: posted on 26-4-2006

Oops :)
Missed it :)

Never mind 2 posts still are not enough for this facinating topic
By netchicken: posted on 26-4-2006

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