The magic vision glasses or eye implants have been a staple of sci-fi for a long time. From the mega-vision of the Terminator or Predator to Deckard’s image enhancer to the silly monocular used by Jason Bourne (I mean come on), we’ve always loved the idea of being able to see more than the eye can actually see. And of course the staples of sci-fi are often staples of R&D as well, and this one is no different.
While many of our current troops are outfitted with some serious visual enhancement gear, the Defense Department is looking into taking this tech to the next level.
The SCENICC research project is a bit of a pie-in-the-sky effort right now, but like the prudent archer, DARPA is aiming high in order to hit a target on a lower level. SCENICC calls for a full-3D virtualization of the entire battlefield, navigable by each soldier and provided with enhanced imagery so they can detect distant muzzle flashes, lock their weapons onto targets, and other stuff that isn’t even remotely possible right now.
Oh, and did I mention that the whole system needs to weigh like a pound and a half?
Actually, it’s increasingly possible that this information could be held at a distant datacenter and be crunched by supercomputers there, like OnLive or Netflix. All the soldiers would need would be video on demand and some basic low-bandwidth data like telemetry.
Will our doughboys be cyborgs in 2020? No, but they’ll be far better-equipped because we tried to make them cyborgs.