‘Phantom head’ may one day take guesswork out of EEG monitoring

David Hairston, a neuroscientist at the Army Research Lab’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate, built a phantom head to calibrate electroencephalography machines. This could revolutionize the medical and research communities. (U.S. Army photo illustration by Peggy Frierson)

By David VergunArmy News Service

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 24, 2015) — Electroencephalography, or EEG, has been used for decades to measure voltage fluctuations in different parts of the brain to graph a person’s neural patterns.

IMPORTANCE OF EEG

EEG patterns, or waves, provide insights into what the person is seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling, sort of peering into individual’s mental and emotional state.

Medical facilities use EEGs extensively to test for such things as psychological disorders, brain injuries and monitoring the effects of sedatives and anesthesia.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, also uses EEGs to help design equipment for Soldiers to help them with complex cognitive tasks, said David Hairston, an ARL neuroscientist here. Continue reading

Army’s MIND Lab able to decode brain waves

Dr. Anthony Ries instructs Pfc. Kenneth Blandon on how to play a computer game, using only his eyes to control the direction of fire of a bubble-shooting cannon at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Nov. 3, 2015. Ries is a cognitive neuroscientist, who studies visual perception and target recognition. Blandon is a mechanic with the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command. (U.S. Army photo by C. Todd Lopez)

By C. Todd LopezArmy News Service

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 5, 2015) — In a U.S. Army Research Laboratory facility here called “The MIND Lab,” a desktop computer was able to accurately determine what target image a Soldier was thinking about.

MIND stands for Mission Impact Through Neurotechnology Design, and Dr. Anthony Ries uses technology in the lab to decode the Soldier’s brain signals.

Ries, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies visual perception and target recognition, hooked the Soldier up to an electroencephalogram — a device that reads brain waves — and then had him sit in front of a computer to look at a series of images that would flash on the screen.

There were five categories of images: boats, pandas, strawberries, butterflies and chandeliers. The Soldier was asked to choose one of those categories, but keep the choice to himself. Then images flashed on the screen at a rate of about one per second. Each image fell into one of the five categories. The Soldier didn’t have to say anything, or click anything. He had only to count, in his head, how many images he saw that fell into the category he had chosen. Continue reading

Unmanned aircraft: New kid on block flexing muscle

An unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, operator, with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, assembles a Raven during a UAV refresher course, on Fort Bragg, N.C., Feb. 5, 2013. The Raven is slightly smaller than the UAVs that infantry units commonly operate in Afghanistan, but the skills to fly them both are the same. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

By Keith Oliver, Army News Service

WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2015) — WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 14, 2015) — “It’s a tactical capability working at a strategic distance.”

That’s what Army Col. Courtney Cote told a gaggle of mostly aviation and aerospace media at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, or AUSA. He was talking about unmanned aerial systems — the new player on the battlefield that, Cote asserts, is here to stay. Continue reading