The U.S. Army believes that a range of technologies could be available by 2050 that would effectively turn the average soldier into a cybernetically enhanced super-soldier. A recent Department of Defense study predicted that enhanced vision, enhanced hearing, musculature control, and what amounts to telepathy would all become possible within 30 years, given the current pace of technological development.
The report, Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human/Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DOD, gives a hint of what the Department of Defense forecasts for soldiers in the next 30 years. The U.S. Army’s Mad Scientist Blog highlights the executive summary. The report highlighted four specific technologies:
“Ocular enhancements, to imaging, sight, and situational awareness.”
Currently U.S. soldiers use bulky, relatively heavy night vision goggles to see in the dark. One possibility is the development of contact lenses with the same capability, perhaps even with a digital zoom that uses augmented reality to project critical data (enemy and friendly positions, routes, etc.) onto the wearer’s field of view.
“Restoration and programmed muscular control through an optogenetic bodysuit.”
A restorative suit could rejuvenate tired muscles, refreshing physically tired soldiers faster.
“Auditory enhancement for communication and protection.”
Hearing is critical on the battlefield and currently, soldiers wear noise-canceling ear protection to screen out the din of weapons. The ear protection is relatively bulky though, and a much smaller, compact headset would be very useful.
“Direct neural enhancement of the human brain for two-way data transfer.”
This is the big one. Telepathy between human soldiers would be revolutionary, as the paper writes, allowing soldiers to instantly share information across the battlefield without the use of communications devices.
Technological feasibility may not be the only issue that determines when and how soldiers receive such gear. Super sight, super muscles, super hearing, and telepathy could have profound implications on the broader society, implications that could slow down or speed up the military’s adoption. Telepathy, the holy grail of interpersonal communications for centuries, also will probably not come cheap, initially restricting its use to special operations forces.
This article was written by Popular Mechanicsand was published by