Ultra PCS

UltraNIMBUS - the journey continues

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Soldiers use an increasing number of electronic devices controlled by pressing buttons/soft keys on a chest mounted user device/tablet often referred to as the End User Device (EUD). With the introduction of technologies such as augmented reality goggles, the user interface is still awkward for use on the battlefield, with voice control and hand gestures not overly practical. One solution is to use a chest worn keypad, requiring the user to take their hand off their weapon – which is also far from optimal.

Already proven in the laboratory, the UltraNIMBUS system provides a novel Brain Computer Interface device that allows any of the connected devices to be controlled by the users' thoughts. As part of the solution, we provide "Focus Improvement Techniques" to improve the way in which the wearer teaches the system individual thought patterns.

UltraNIMBUS provides the means to harness the signals from the brain to measure a true state of well-being. Alpha waves indicate creative thinking, high beta waves indicate stressful situations, mid beta waves are typical when the brain is attentive and low beta waves are seen when the brain is absorbing information. Hosted on an UltraLYNX hub, Artificial Intelligence algorithms create meaningful information from the raw brainwave signals.

Sensing brainwaves

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a technique that detects electrical activity in the brain using small electrodes attached to the scalp. The brain cells communicate via electrical impulses which the electrodes detect.

In UltraNIMBUS, the EEG electrodes can be embedded into the helmets internal cradle and provide a comfortable electrical connection to the soldiers' scalp. The electrodes are in specific places to allow various low-level brainwave signals to be detected. Smart algorithms convert the raw data to meaningful signals that can be used to show to control other devices by thought commands.

Body worn processing

Central to the UltraNIMBUS system is a body worn computer known as UltraLYNX. This miniature rugged soldier worn hubs with embedded edge computing capability. With a scalable and flexible open architecture that allows simplified integration of devices that were never designed to work with each other, hubs can be daisy-chained for system expansion. Software defined capability aids interoperability and enables USB driver offload, network routing, middleware deployment and container hosting on the hub.

By learning a variety of thought patterns, the UltraLYNX hub can be used to control any of the devices connected to it. This makes it possible to control the radio, a camera or even an unmanned platform by the soldiers specific thought commands.

Making it real

Ultra PCS has recently been awarded a US Army DEVCOM contract through the DEVCOM Atlantic office located in the UK. This Foreign Technology (and science) Assessment Support program known as FTAS aims to encourage investigations of new ideas that may offer advantages to the Army.

Soldiers will control a computer menu by using thought control via a Brain Computer Interface (BCI). The menu will be used to command a small UAV, allowing the user to launch, rotate and land the drone using different thought commands.

Results from the trial are expected by the end of the year and we hope to publish them in a future article.

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