Planes On The Brain: Non-Aviatrix "Flies" An F-35 Simulator Thanks To Neural Signalling


Ever have one of those dreams where you're flying?  What if you could do the next best thing in real life and control a plane with your mind?  Now, the U.S. military has designed a way to make this possible...

Forget flying by the seat of your pants...now you can fly by the seat of your mind!
(Image courtesy globalresearch.ca.)



According to military.com, a quadriplegic woman named Jan Scheuermann allowed a Pentagon robotics team to implant two small electrodes in her head back in 2012. When the implant sites were shown to have healed around the electrodes, Scheuermann proved cognitively capable of operating an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator...using only her mind.

Scheuermann, a 55-year-old mother of two with no prior military or aviation experience, had been previously paralyzed by a rare genetic disorder, but adapted to the pea-sized electrode implants "very well", according to Arati Prabhakar, the director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.) Originally, she had been testing a mentally-manipulated robotic arm, which had proven extremely successful.

The life of the mind:  Scheuermann taught the robot limb to feed her chocolate,
then took an F-35 for a spin.
(Image courtesy it.blastingnews.com.)

When the "neural signaling" experiment worked well in regards to Scheuermann being able to remotely operate both the left and right handed versions of the robotic limb, she was given the chance to "fly" the F-35. This particular series of planes, which cost $178 million on average, are the military's most innovative and most expensive. Now, the possibility arises that these planes, or future generations thereof, might not even need to be entrusted to an in-craft pilot.

"B-but we just got these cool helmets and stuff!  Please, can we just take a quick trip past Mach 1?"
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org.)

Director Prabhakar explained, "Instead of thinking about controlling a joystick, which is what our ace pilots do when they're driving this thing, Jan's thinking about controlling the airplane directly." She added, "In doing this work, we've also opened this door...we can now see a future where we can free the brain from the limitations of the human body and I think we can all imagine amazing good things and amazing potential bad things that are on the other side of that door."

Bad things like the unauthorized neuronal signalling of fear memories, for instance.
(Image courtesy nature.com.)

While the potential for brain-hacking abuse now does come into question, the goodness of such projects seems to still outweigh the bad. In the future, wounded soldiers who retain specialized training in their minds will still be able to perform their jobs thanks to the neural signalling efforts. Perhaps, with enough foresight, many hundreds or thousands of soldiers won't even have to physically engage in combat at all. It doesn't take fancy augmentation with electrodes to show that that could end up being a great idea.

The F-35 simulator: comes in manual or mind-controlled!
(Image courtesy defensetech.org.) 
 


 

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