Brain Sensors Stimulate Image Analysts for Faster Performance

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Honeywell (NYSE:HON) is developing a human brain stimulated image analysis system that could dramatically improve the performance of image analysts by tapping the analyst's brain signals. Honeywell based their development on the fact that the human brain is capable of responding to visually salient objects significantly faster than an individual's visual-motor, transformation-based response. Simply put, the analyst's brain can register a visual discovery long before he becomes fully aware of it. Honeywell is developing the system as part of DARPA's Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts (NIA) program. (More...)

The new application designated 'Honeywell Image Triage System' (HITS) will enable Department of Defense (DoD) personnel to analyze intelligence images up to six times faster than the current computer-based system, through the use of sensors monitoring signals in the human brain. These sensors will monitor brain activity in real time, automatically identifying and recording brain signals to tag intelligence images worthy of additional review.

The system presents data to analysts in high-speed bursts of 10 to 20 images per second. Head-mounted electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors detect neural signals associated with target recognition as the images are viewed. Neural signals known as "event related potentials" are used to tag the images that contain likely targets or threats. At the end of the high-speed scan, the analysts are able to focus on the small subset of key images tagged by the brain scan instead of searching slowly and systematically through every inch of high-resolution satellite images like current techniques require.

"This [technology will] speed up the intelligence analysis process by tapping into brain signals associated with split-second visual judgments." said Bob Smith, Vice President, Advanced Technology, Honeywell Aerospace. "As a result, we are going to give analysts the ability to identify dangerous threats to our troops more quickly, precisely and effectively than ever before." Honeywell's triage analysis methods will be used allowing analysts to rapidly evaluate images from satellites, ground cameras and surveillance aircraft. It will ultimately apply to a diverse range of imagery, including high resolution electro-optical, infrared and video imagery. It could eventually be used in a broad range of military and commercial applications including medical diagnosis and geospatial analysis.

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