DARPA looks to future of interfaces with bio-navigation tech


23 Nov 2010

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to create biologically-driven navigation (BioNav) technology in order to develop immersive 3D war training or to operate robots more accurately.

In an announcement found by The Register, DARPA wishes to find innovative ways to translate biological signals, such as galvanic and behavioural responses, into movement commands in a virtual or real environment.

For example, this technology could be used to create a more immersive training simulation, where soldiers can control an avatar and perform tasks manually, such as handling weapons, as opposed to using an interface that is inaccurate to the real experience.

DARPA also believes biological signals could be use to navigate a robot in order to manually control complex tasks.

In its search for ideas to implement this interface, DARPA would like idea applicants to use “non-invasive” methodologies, but has said it is open hearing about both invasive and non-invasive approaches, particularly for “paraplegics and lower-extremity amputees.”

The agency noted the ultimate goal is the creation of a system for commercial and military use. While no solid way of creating such technology has been shown yet, if the aims of the program are achieved, the possibilities for real-world application are limitless, such as intensely more immersive gaming experiences, computer interfaces used through the mind and improved robotics technology.

DARPA has asked applicants to ensure a low error rate, to enable high levels of situational awareness, to allow adequate bandwidth for real-time processing of signals and to maximise user comfort.