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The Military Displays

The Military Is About To Get New Augmented Reality Spy Glasses 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
schwit1 writes in with this story about some interesting new eyewear purchased by the Defense Department. Getting secret information to specific people, like the location of the nearest nuclear power plant, in a way that doesn't draw attention from outside is a classic spy problem. Another one is giving agents the ability to match names to faces in the real world, at blackjack tables and fancy soirees and other places spies frequent. The Defense Department is buying some new spy specs to give spooks in the field an intelligence edge over everybody else. The glasses, called simply the X6, are from San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group. They look like the lovechild of Google Glass and the Oculus Rift, providing more information to the wearer than the small window on Google's much-maligned headset but not obstructing vision like the Oculus Rift. (Admittedly, for spy glasses, they lack a certain subtlety.)
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The Military Is About To Get New Augmented Reality Spy Glasses

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  • Spy glasses? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chihowa (366380) * on Thursday June 26, 2014 @08:33PM (#47329579)

    Augmented reality glasses sound awesome, and these look much more interesting than Google Glass, but I'm not sure spies are the market here.

    From the article: "Admittedly, for spy glasses, they lack a certain subtlety." A bit of an understatement, I'd say.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jannie Ogg (1207912) *
      Imagine their reception at the blackjack table.
      • As stated by TFA:

        They look like the lovechild of Google Glass and the Oculus Rift, providing more information to the wearer than the small window on Google's much-maligned headset but not obstructing vision like the Oculus Rift. ( Admittedly, for spy glasses, they lack a certain subtlety )

        If the military can do something like that, so can we

        After all, this is what modding is all about

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, these stand out waaaay too much for undercover work. They might have some use, e.g., for communication within someone's security detail or something like that, but I don't think you could wear something like this and fail to attract attention. And that seems like exactly the sort of thing spies want to *avoid* ...

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        I'm not sure spies would avoid this. These appear to be glasses I would actually not mind wearing. Outside of a brick on the side, they look like sunglasses with a safety lens over them. But they actually resemble a pair of glasses unlike Google's Glass.

        Anyways, with a sufficient population having something similar, they could actually blend into the population with them.

        • These appear to be glasses I would actually not mind wearing.

          Actually, I was expecting them to look a lot worse . . . when I looked at the picture, they don't seem too far different from the high-end fancy sport sunglasses that I have seen in stores. The ones where you can clip on multiple filters, and stuff.

          I think that they look better than Google Glasses, because they don't have that Colonel Klink or Borg monocle look. I do a lot of riding on trains, and these look like they would be perfect for me, when I want to zone out.

          They would also look less menacing th

        • The idea that there's a technological fix for every problem is a very American attitude, and this idea seems particularly widespread in military circles. The fact of the matter is that the CIA is incompetent, and no amount of technology in the world can fix the fact that our intelligence agency is run by idiots. To cite just a few examples, the CIA screwed up on WMD in Iraq, failed to anticipate the Arab Spring, was caught off-guard by Putin's invasion of Crimea, and despite repeated warnings from the Kurds
          • by sumdumass (711423)

            I think the idea behind the technological fix behind everything stems from trying to get more out of less people. Of course there are ares stuff like this might be more than helpful. But on the whole i think you are right.

        • There is already a lot of people that wear something like this, it's not actually that much different from my driving/sport glasses. Since you can't curve corrective lenses, the only ways to keep wind out of your eyes are either a double-lens arrangement or goggles..
          Just move as much hardware as possible into pocket or a humongous pair of earphones, make them as futuristic/80's/freaky/conspicuous as you can, accessorize with a cap and a track-suit(UK) or a beard plus silly and/or 'ironic' t-shirt(US) and
    • by BillX (307153)

      Heh. For our military this seems very counterintuitive. AFAICT the push in recent years has been toward anything that reduces unnecessary cognitive loading in heated situations, and frees up their tactical senses (eyes & ears) generally. At my day-job a recent project was a tactile display vest specifically to replace voice and hand-arm signaling, keeping soldiers' eyes and ears free for other matters. Basically a dense array of vibrotactile drivers (like what makes your phone buzz) that can display mes

    • These look awesome! I would so be lining up for these. Not to mention they specifically mention my killer app for wearing glasses - the face recognition!

      I've played with Google Glass a few times and my complaint has always been the screen was too small and it should work as an overlay. If these did that!

      Queue glasshole hatred now.

    • Gathering Yahoo webcam images of random naked people isn't enough for the GCHQ and NSA. This technology will ensure they see us naked all the time.
    • by erroneus (253617)

      I see the next evolution as such devices being issued to police and local military forces operating in the US. They can and likely will be used to issue orders and directives about targets further disabling human choice and decision making. You may have already heard about the "zero hesitaiton targets" being used in police and other government training. It is surprisingly hard to overcome humanity and morality in government employees, but they are working VERY hard to overcome it and rather successfully

      • by erroneus (253617)

        To add clarity to the topic, I see the change in tactics and tactical advantage as extremely disturbing.

        The shift is from combat and other conflict engagement to robotic herd management where machines are used to cull the herds of human resources out there.

  • more toys at taxpayer expense...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      GPS, Penicillin, transistors, microchips, nuclear power, autonomous systems, arpanet(internet), communication systems, advanced optics, radar. Hopefully there will be plenty more toys. Now shut your mouth and go pay your taxes. :)

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        most of the things you list are due to warfare, not having fun

        • Really? The whole point of the GP post was that nearly all of the technological underpinnings of our modern, leisure-infested lifestyle are the result of governmental (and much of it military) research. I hate war as much as the next liberal, but it seems that the efforts of short-sighted humans are focused by the desire to be able to kill as many people as possible as easily as possible. Without it, we'd still be monkeys. Now if we could just quit the actual killing of people we'd be making some progress

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by epyT-R (613989)

        Yeah nice false dilemma there. Just because some good comes of it at times does not mean we should just accept the status quo of rising taxes, rising inflation, and diminishing returns. On the flip side we have:

        1. bio warfare
        2. nuclear weapons
        3. autonomous robot weapons
        4. electronic surveillance
        5. speeding fines that have nothing to do with safety
        6. e-waste

        Now shut up and go reread the bill of rights.

        • Yeah nice false dilemma there. Just because some good comes of it at times does not mean we should just accept the status quo of rising taxes, rising inflation, and diminishing returns.

          Only, we don't have rising taxes. Right now inflation is at or below what the Fed generally goes for. I don't even know what you mean with dimishing returns. And none of these is strongly related with military or intelligence R&D.

          On the flip side we have:

          1. bio warfare 2. nuclear weapons 3. autonomous robot weapons 4. electronic surveillance 5. speeding fines that have nothing to do with safety 6. e-waste

          Now shut up and go reread the bill of rights.

          Humans have misused almost every scientific and technological advance. They are short-sighted, greedy, and oppress their fellow humans. None of this is a surprise. However, things like the 'toy' that the OP complained about, and the list of negatives that you give, are no

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Recall how well the wig was used
      "The name is Blond... James Blond: Russia set to expel US 'spy' caught wearing a shaggy wig as he offered millions to agent to switch sides" (15 May 2013)
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]
      "Red-handed? Russia ‘catches CIA spy on Moscow recruitment mission’" (14 May 2013)
      http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk]
      Giving your spies even more complex equipment might just make for even more photogenic press reports.
      Keep the spying face to face with simple items any loc
  • by iggymanz (596061) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:41PM (#47329937)

    now that is funny, even a basic non-smart net10 phone with primative browser can pull up that info, it's quite public. Information about people and resources moving in and out of one might be better example of something that might be transmitted

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:48PM (#47329953) Homepage

    if this were an education project or something i could have at my library id think this is awesome, but we spend more on defense than the next 4 largest spending countries combined. we're constantly sold on the idea that america is broke, so broke that an entire party of the government often times refuses to increase our debt limit. nearly every american highway is riddled with potholes, highschool kids have to pay a portion of their textbooks in many cases, and the entire city of detroit is about to cut off water service to a quarter of its population. The only thing that ever seems to happen in america is war. we dont have the cash to keep street lights on anymore, but we sure as shit have cash to burn for training some syrian rebels. it didnt work the first or second time, but we sent troops back to iraq for a third round of 'father knows best' diplomacy by the gun, and now we have augmented reality for the troops? How about this:

    we give them augmented reality but it is designed to simulate a life after 2 tours with stop-loss, a GI bill that no longer pays for college, a medical system thats underfunded and crooked, the hallucinations and nightmares from PTSD, and the constant struggle of putting a shirt on with only one remaining arm. and in 5 years when the defense department finds a way to sell it to civillians like they did the hummer and the barret 50 caliber rifle, it can be recalibrated. here it will simulate a reality where the user has a well paying job, affordable housing, healthy food to eat, clean air and water, social healthcare system, and a highway as nice as the one we built in afghanistan.

    • by SumDog (466607) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @11:16PM (#47330259) Homepage Journal

      1984 and Brave New World were never intended to be user manuals

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        1984 and Brave New World were never intended to be user manuals

        Of course not. These are developer manuals. It has been deprecated in Brave New World, but Fahrenheit 451 has instructions on how to proceed when users begin reading the wrong literature.

    • We might spend more money on defense than other countries (which happens to be the most important part of our budget, though I'm not saying it's not a tad large), but it helps to look at the budget as a whole [nationalpriorities.org]. Only 16% of the said budget is spent on defense. Our problem is that the whole pie is too big ($3,900,000,000,000 or $3.9 Trillion).
    • if this were an education project or something i could have at my library id think this is awesome, but we spend more on defense than the next 4 largest spending countries combined. we're constantly sold on the idea that america is broke, so broke that an entire party of the government often times refuses to increase our debt limit. nearly every american highway is riddled with potholes, highschool kids have to pay a portion of their textbooks in many cases, and the entire city of detroit is about to cut off water service to a quarter of its population. The only thing that ever seems to happen in america is war. we dont have the cash to keep street lights on anymore, but we sure as shit have cash to burn for training some syrian rebels. it didnt work the first or second time, but we sent troops back to iraq for a third round of 'father knows best' diplomacy by the gun, and now we have augmented reality for the troops?

      There is unquestionably a lot of wasteful military spending, but complete disengagement isn't necessarily the answer. If Obama had moved to support the Syrian moderates earlier- instead of just saying he'd support them and doing fuck-all- then perhaps the Syrian extremists wouldn't have taken over a third of Iraq. If Obama had negotiated to keep on troops in Iraq, perhaps the country wouldn't have fallen apart so quickly. If Obama hadn't completely walked away from Iraq, then maybe Maliki wouldn't have push

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of Snow Crash:

    Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:03PM (#47330013)

    This is a solution in search of a problem.

  • Am I the only one who has been thinking recently that soccer might make me less angry if referees had augmented reality glasses? For example, if they could instantly replay for themselves certain situations and rotate angles (enough data is already collected from cameras to make this possible), they would certainly make better calls! If nothing else, this would be a way to completely nail offsides decisions.
    • For this we'd first have to abandon the dogma that the clock has to keep running at all costs.

      • by mu51c10rd (187182)

        Yet stoppage time is added at the end...why not just stop the clock for penalties and injuries instead?

        • Have you ever sat down with a stopwatch and checked just how long games actually are when you only count "pure" play time? You end up with about 20-25 minutes per half. Including injury time you're still at a laughable pittance of actually play time.

          In other words, if they actually stopped the clock whenever the ball exits the play field, whenever a goal is scored, whenever foul play has to be handled... a game would not take those 1.5 hours it does now but would be closer to 3 hours.

          And since I don't reall

      • by Dr. Spork (142693)
        I was thinking that they could review previous events as the game runs, but I guess they could they could limit it to time after they blew the whistle and are deciding about cards. But offsides calls could absolutely be done in real time.
        • In huge tournaments like the currently running World Cup, with 30+ cameras pointing at the field with 20+ thereof pointing at wherever the ball happens to be, yes.

          It won't work out for "normal" games.

  • I mean, one of the best scenes [youtube.com] of Star Trek history would never have existed with such glasses that make it unnecessary to ask for directions.

  • "(Admittedly, for spy glasses, they lack a certain subtlety.)"

    That's a bummer. The US military has been famous for decades because of their 'subtlety'.

  • by brian23059 (1747580) on Friday June 27, 2014 @09:18AM (#47332005)
    OR you could go to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website (www.nrc.gov) and get the street address of every the nuclear power plants in the US, then look at them on Google Earth. If that doesn't do it, go to nukeworker.com and get driving directions from the nearest airport and the recommended hotels. Nuclear power plants are BIG. We don't rely on anonymity. We rely on walls, fences, and a LOT of people with guns.
  • ... everyone look like an enemy.

  • Hey, let's write a article with nothing but buzzwords:

    Oculus Rift
    Google Glass
    Spy
    San Francisco

    WTF? These have nothing to do with the heavy/HD crappy (1080p not so good 1" away) Rift, Unusable [and 'jerk' label] Glass, Spies? This is DoD C4i not the CIA, and of course... all the geekdom in frisco (World revolves around Frisco... according to Silicon Valley).

    These are glamified knock offs to the Epson Moverio. Right down to the snap-in tinted shades. Don't know what it is? Look it up. And you can buy them now

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