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DARPA's Cortically-Coupled Computer Vision System 145

Posted by timothy
from the eharmony-should-get-right-on-this dept.
BluePariah writes "Wired News has an article on a 'cortically coupled computer vision' system being developed at Columbia University and funded by the ever-curious folks at DARPA. Essentially, it uses the extremely powerful visual recognition ability of the human brain and couples it with a computer's raw processing power to allow a user wearing an EEG cap to filter through scores of digital images at high-speed and pick out something of interest. This has applications in military intelligence, face-recognition, anti-terrorism, and hunting down replicants."
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DARPA's Cortically-Coupled Computer Vision System

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  • Next stop... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:09AM (#15712308) Journal
    Essentially, it uses the extremely powerful visual recognition ability of the human brain and couples it with a computer's raw processing power to allow a user wearing an EEG cap to filter through scores of digital images at high-speed and pick out something of interest.

    Say it with me now... Porn!

  • by gasmonso (929871) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:10AM (#15712312) Homepage

    Now I'd imagine then that the results would vary from user to user. So would this system require the "right" person then for testing and calibration? Very interesting indeed.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by UR30 (603039) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:14AM (#15712332) Homepage
    Suprise: I thought that the human visual systems is way superior to the existing computational image-processing systems. But I guess this technology switch directions as well, switching the roles and using human brain as co-processors in surveillance and security applications. Any volunteers for this?
  • by songbo (614466) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:14AM (#15712339) Journal
    I may be missing something here. But isn't this just like the security guard pressing a button when he sees something suspicious? Except you don't have to press a button here.
  • by uioreanu (554486) * <prophp@gmMONETail.com minus painter> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:19AM (#15712369) Homepage
    seems like a first case of positive usage of subliminal messages [wikipedia.org]. I wonder though, who would accept his brain to be fried in such a way.
  • by BluePariah (987431) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:22AM (#15712398)
    Not only do you not have to press the button but you can look at the data ten-times as fast. Imagine this scenario: You're a Homeland Security Goon at the airport and the boys in the NSA have provided you with the face of a terrorist that may be walking around the airport. You memorize the picture of the guy, put on your nifty EEG space helmet, and tap into the face recognition system camera database at the airport. You then sift through thousands of photos in mere minutes. Human recognition works FASTER than human consciousness and therefore can identify the images before you even 'know' it. The EEG can detect the signals of your brain recognizing images and when it gets a 'hit', it dumps that image them into a cache for closer review at a later time. Think about it... banks of people in a windowless office with EEG helmets on pouring over pictures from every corner of the globe looking for whomever. Fascinating and scary at the same time...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:43AM (#15712526)
    Or in other words - how long until homegrown brains in a can?

  • Re:Next stop... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:43AM (#15712532) Journal
    Great! So now you can watch scads of porn without actually seeing any of it!

    No, now you can scan through your entire porn collection and pick out the things you want to see, much faster than doing a search. Imagine hooking this up to your browser and surfing through porn websites brought up by a Google search -- you could find what you're looking for instantly!

    Mind you, I'm sure DARPA didn't have this in mind when they thought it up. They probably want to hunt fro troops, missiles, terrorists, etc. But the pron industry seems to be at the forefront of every new technology at some point.

  • Re:pr0n (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fletchermemorial (983057) <fletchermemorial ... Nom minus author> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:45AM (#15712538) Homepage
    Funny that you say that, but this could be quite interesting for psychological testing. An array of images, for example could be given, ones with great shock value, loving images, landscapes, techno-graphix, an assortment of a few images of as many categories as possible, totalling let's say 6000. Showing one for a second each, 100 minutes (or a little over an hour and a half) you can see where interest peaks, and see someone's truly, unprocessed and unmasked interests. I betcha most men (and probably women too) will show peaks at three things The gender of chosen interest in less clothing than would be accepted in public Some kind of crazy technological advancement An explosion of sorts and yes, in that order
  • by blackcoot (124938) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @11:00AM (#15712629)
    IXO (DARPA'S Information eXploitation Office) just made awards for their VACE (Video Analysis and Content Extraction) BAA and this sounds a lot like some of the technologies they were trying to develop through that program. I'll have to do more digging, the article itself is somewhat suspect (some jackass with a Ph.D. in *transport systems* flaunting his ignorance of computer vision isn't exactly a good source to quote). I particularly like the bit about "They are limited in their ability to recognize suspicious activities or events." Turns out that he hasn't read Grimson and Stauffer's (fellow MIT alums) papers. Or, you know, about 20-30% of the computer vision literature.
  • Re:Next stop... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rfischer (95276) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @11:00AM (#15712630)
    How telling is it that this is moderated "Interesting" rather than "Funny"?

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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