Did you ever watch the Terminator movies and marvel at the prospect of having augmented reality vision?—the type that scans what you see in real-time and labels it with relevant data, locks on targets, and digitally zooms in to see far, far away? Well, so did the Pentagon; and this is exactly what it wants for its soldiers.
The Pentagon has asked DARPA, its research branch, to work on a project called Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras, or SCENICC for short, which will give soldiers the ability to see 360-degrees around, zoom in up to a kilometer away, and see everything in real-time 3D from a wearable eyepiece that can be controlled hands-free.
As much as it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, the Army has already asked three different companies (Raytheon, Rockwell Collins and General Dynamics) to start working on the project, and specified some features that must be included:
- “High-resolution computer-enhanced imagery as well as task-specific non-image data products such as mission data overlays, threat warnings/alerts, targeting assistance, etc”
- An “integrated weapon sighting” feature which would lock the soldier’s gun on a specific target
- Would be connected to a wireless network that works together with images taken by other soldiers and/or drones
- Have a battery that can last over 24 hours per charge
- Be no heavier than about a pound and a half
This might sound like the Army is asking for a bit much for all of these features to be built into an ultra-portable gadget that weights less than two pounds, but considering all of the technological advancements we have been making recently, and the military’s budget for weapons development, this might also become an imminent reality. It sure would make a soldier’s job much safer and more effective to literally have eyes in the back of his head.
(Story and photo via Wired)