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Will Navy Fighter Planes Be Exoskeletons?

As humans and machines integrate, it has been suggested that pilots, among other warfighters, could directly control their aircraft with their minds. This feat might incorporate a helmet with electrodes, allowing brain activity to be read through electroencephalography (EEG), technology that can observe electrical currents in the brain.







“The problem with the EEG is that it is integrating all of the activity in the brain tissue that exists underneath that electrode, so what it doesn’t give you is specific information about the content of a given signal,” said Matthew Riedy, scientist at the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic.

“It can tell you definitively when something has happened. What it can’t tell you is the information content of a given signal,” Riedy explained. Therefore, it’s impossible to know if a system operator has the intention to, for example, go east or west.

The Navy is not trying to create a competitor for tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a company working to install hardware directly into people’s brains, especially when it comes to healthy people.

“I’ve yet to see a problem space where someone has done something better with a noninvasive interface that is better than what normal healthy humans can do,” said Riedy, a neurophysiology expert.