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Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS)   (Source: DARPA)
DARPA found that using all three devices in the threat detection unit at the same time helped soldiers detect 91 percent of threats

DARPA is currently testing a new way for soldiers to detect threats from far away via cognitive tools.

Currently, soldiers can depend on drones and advanced radar to keep an eye on surrounding threats, but neither of these instruments are available 24/7. Instead, soldiers are left with cameras, portable radars or binoculars to spot an oncoming attack, but DARPA reports that these tools lead to a 47 percent or greater miss rate because they just don't advance human vision enough.

To address these issues, DARPA created the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS) program back in 2008. As a result of that, a CT2WS toolkit has been developed for use on the battlefield.

The CT2WS toolkit has three main devices: a video camera with 120 megapixels, 120-degree field of view, tripod and electro-optical capabilities; cognitive visual processing algorithms that detect threats and run on laptops, and a electroencephalogram (EEG) cap that checks the soldier's brain signals and records when a threat is detected.

The prototype was tested in Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, tropical terrain in Hawaii and open terrain in California's Camp Roberts. During testing, DARPA found that using all three devices at the same time helped soldiers detect 91 percent of threats.

Also, the system had a very low false alarm rate. The tools are capable of understanding that a bird flying by is just a bird; not a threat. According to testing of the CT2WS unit, the devices returned only about 5 false alarms per hour. Before the EEG cap, this number was about 810 false alarms per hour.

"DARPA set out to solve a common challenge for forward troops: how can you reliably detect potential threats and targets of interest without making it a resource drain?" said Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager. "The prototype system has demonstrated an extremely low false alarm rate, a detection rate in the low nineties, all while reducing the load on the operator."

DARPA will continue testing the CT2WS system, shipping it over to the Army's Night Vision Lab next.

Source: DARPA

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By Ammohunt on 9/22/2012 4:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
As a former soldier i will say that no high tech gizmo will ever replace good soldiering. I would rather they not depend on tech and rather depend on fine tuning the killer instincts which will serve them always while high tech will not.

RE: Problem
By Cypherdude1 on 9/22/2012 5:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
What you say is true, for now. However, in as little as 5 years, new technology will be deployed which will help the soldier on the ground. US soldiers with this new technology will not be ambushed by waiting enemy insurgents. US soldiers will not be killed by roadside bombs because new technology will sense soil ahead of them which has been disturbed or moved.

The US needs this new technology because it is demoralizing to the general public. Wars which have high casualty rates are difficult to prosecute. Furthermore, losing US soldiers is more difficult in terms of costs than when Third World insurgents are lost. Gone are the days of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The USA simply cannot afford to lose large numbers of servicemen.

Today, technology is advancing very quickly. Everyday, something new is being developed. The Internet, communications, has accelerated this phenomenon. Technology is developing so fast it is difficult to keep track of it all. Within 5 years, there will be new devices most people today could not dream of.

RE: Problem
By arazok on 9/24/2012 11:50:00 AM , Rating: 4
It’s amazing how much money it will cost to solve the problem of a demoralized public.

Tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars to save the lives of a few thousand, volunteer, soldiers; only because the public can’t grasp that a 10 year occupation at the cost of a few thousand men is an outstanding success by any standard.

It would be much cheaper to send representatives from the armed forces to the front door of every citizen to deliver a good, firm, slap across the face and a lecture on reality.

RE: Problem
By NellyFromMA on 9/24/2012 12:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
That implies:

A) all citizens WANT to reason with you

B) that you're perception of reasoning is theirs. Hint: Its not.

RE: Problem
By deadrats on 9/29/2012 8:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
aside from the fact that we shouldn't be applying cold mathematics to human lives there's this reality:

assume that it does in fact cost hundreds of billions of dollars to develop said technology, the U.S. GDP is over 14 trillion dollars, that hundred or so billion is just a drop in the bucket.

furthermore it's very easy to discount those few thousand dead over a 10 year period as some sort of macabre success but if you or someone you loved was one of those thousands you wouldn't feel it was a success.

i suggest you either join the human race and consider the value of a human life in terms other than dollars or go kill yourself and become one of those few thousand "successes" you were talking about.

RE: Problem
By HostileEffect on 9/22/2012 5:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
Usmc grunt units will never see it. If we can afford something nice its usually locked up so it doesnt get scratched.

RE: Problem
By Master Kenobi on 9/22/2012 8:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
Army combat units are the same way. Very rarely does the high tech stuff ever make it into the combat zone. It usually sits in a cargo container somewhere and forgotten. The only time it is pulled out is when some bigwig is visiting and wants to "see" it. It goes right back into the boxes once they leave.

RE: Problem
By kattanna on 9/24/2012 10:38:29 AM , Rating: 2
Very rarely does the high tech stuff ever make it into the combat zone.

and rightfully so because its just more crap you will have to carry that you know will break after the first skirmish.

RE: Problem
By RufusM on 9/24/2012 4:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Soldiers will use technology if it makes sense for them to do so. Just look at gunshot detectors on military transports. Soldiers LOVE those because it gives them an immediate and extremely accurate threat assessment, although it doesn't work until they are being fired on.

Imagine taking all of the detection data used over years of testing and putting it into a small self-contained device which has a very high degree of threat detection confidence, supported by a larger military unit with real-time information feeding into it. You can have small military units performing missions; having tremendous situational awareness and the opportunity to remove threats before they can pose real danger.

RE: Problem
By Iaiken on 9/23/2012 12:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
The system still can't actually detect a "threat", it can only detect the presence of people. Whether that person is an actual threat has to be left in the hands of actual soldiers.

RE: Problem
By delphinus100 on 9/23/2012 2:00:54 PM , Rating: 3
True, but not being 'surprised,' even by innocent civilians, is still of great value.

RE: Problem
By SPOOFE on 9/23/2012 2:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
no high tech gizmo will ever replace good soldiering.

Good soldiering nowadays involves the proper utilization of high tech gizmos. It's not a mutually exclusive situation.

RE: Problem
By NellyFromMA on 9/24/2012 12:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. However, there is no doubt that the more tools they have at their disposal and receive PROPER training on incorporating that into their core skillsset the more prepared they will be to handle conflict.

Surely we will see a 'digital dark age' similar to what we're likely witnessing in today's society regarding improper use of technology and how it actually leads to lesser capable individual and/or tech-dependancy.

It can be avoided and hopefully will, but history indicates otherwise.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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