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The Military Biotech

Five US Navy SEAL Units Are Now Testing Brain-Zappers (military.com) 120

Five different Navy SEAL units are testing "transcranial electrical stimulation," reports Military.com, with one command's spokesperson saying the early results "show promising signs... we are encouraged to continue and are moving forward with our studies." The device's manufacturer says the number of devices being tested is "in the double digits," and believes the "neuro-priming" device could improve shooting performance, adding "it's kind of all about just training a little bit smarter." schwit1 quotes their report: Transcranial electrical stimulation was one of the technologies touted by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter in July 2016 as part of his Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) initiative. Since then, multiple SEAL units have begun actively testing the effectiveness of the technology, officials with Naval Special Warfare Command told Military.com... At a conference near Washington, D.C., in February, the commander of all Navy special operations units made an unusual request to industry: Develop and demonstrate technologies that offer "cognitive enhancement" capabilities to boost his elite forces' mental and physical performance. "We plan on using that in mission enhancement," Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski said.
Admiral Szymanski says experiments found that operators monitoring screens reportedly maintained peak performance for 20 hours -- rather than experience the usual drop-off in concentration after 20 minutes.
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Five US Navy SEAL Units Are Now Testing Brain-Zappers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That part is cool at least.

    • What do drugs do? Well, in a nutshell, they interact with certain parts of your body, more often than not parts of your brain, causing it to function differently.

      What does this do again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2017 @05:56PM (#54161567)

    I expected, they want to zapp the brains of the enemies.... For that they could simply use Fox News...

    • Yeah, my first thought was this referred to an offensive weapon they were using - not an attention aid for the Seals themselves.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        So why is the US military bothering with this training method, why not just hire OCD types https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. I am sure there is not problem with the training method in the long term, none what so ever ;D. Why not save cost and just use already mentally disturbed people, rather than creating you own new ones. Just seems like a waste of capital. I wonder what other mental variants the US military can train for to improve kill numbers, psychopathy is really popular, perhaps schizophrenia for s

    • I thought that too at first. If cops are getting death drones, why not at this point? Science!
    • Yes, as opposed to melting the brains of the viewer, which is the job of CNN. Kind of like a frontal lobotomy on a screen...

      But then pacification of travelers has always been the primary reason for plying CNN incessantly in airports.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or any of the leftist media... Clinton News Network, Nothing But Clinton, Clinton Broadcasting System, Always Backing Clinton, and foremost... Methodologically Supporting Nothing But Clinton.

      Get back in your cave under the bridge, troll. Your candidate lost after an effort that was just as tragic as your cause... the undermining of Bernie Sander's campaign on her way to a candidacy with nothing on the platform except another four years of the failing Obama policies.

      If you need to feel better about yourself

    • For that they could simply use Fox News...

      That would violate the Geneva Convention ban on Joke Warfare: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      "Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!"

      Y'all just laughed yourselves to death, after reading that!

  • Guinea pigs. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2017 @06:07PM (#54161605)

    And if they don't work, well, I'm sure the VA will be happy to take care of your cognitive capabilities/disabilities, like they do every other soldier. Ahem.

  • the headset purports to work by stimulating the brain to enter a state of hyper-elasticity,

    Sounds like pure BS to me. However, I wonder if the placebo effect extends to this type of training.

  • I'd do my testing on prison inmates or drug addicts. See how long they can concentrate on making a shank, or not scoring. See what the initial results are, and check out the long term effects.

    SEALs are the best of the best, odds are dicking with their brains will give bad results more often than good.
    • Fighter pilots already use amphetamines, and many other chemical cognitive enhancers are in use.

      Like in sci-fi, the drugs are electro + chemical, for whatever your goal: performance, high, control, apathy, etc.

      Agreed that I wouldn't "test" this on the elite, but if it's gone this far in trials, you know it's been tested on the non-best already.

  • Admiral Szymanski says experiments found that operators monitoring screens reportedly maintained peak performance for 20 hours -- rather than experience the usual drop-off in concentration after 20 minutes.

    Was the Admiral perchance wearing one of these devices when he was interviewed? Because this sounds suspiciously like a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode [wikia.com]...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Remember, the military once tried to have a woman co-habitat with a dolphin to establish communications.

    So maybe pump the brakes.

  • If the point is to stimulate the brain, coffee works too. Caffeine is technically a psychoactive drug. Controlled frying of your brain can't be good for you.
  • Consequences (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @07:05PM (#54161799)
    Making the brain work in ways other than our nature intends will yield a crop of disabled and troubled Seals.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry! With our new budget cuts, they'll be out on the streets in no time!

    • In nature it's a bad idea to get continuously engrossed in something because then something else can come along and eat you. The limit is probably not an issue of endurance or health.

    • Making the brain work in ways other than our nature intends will yield a crop of disabled and troubled Seals.

      he same though occured to me. This is changing some chemistry in the brain. I suspect that if it works, a fair amount of recuperation will be needed afterwards at the very least.

    • Making the brain work in ways other than our nature intends will yield a crop of disabled and troubled Seals.

      Give me a break. The FDA has probably done more to regulate around the way "nature intends" our minds and bodies to work more than any other single factor. The most popular preservatives and additives in our food supply today aren't natural or healthy.

      As far as boosting the attention span of SEALs who are put in situations that mandate intense concentration and alertness, I'd say this is more of a survival tactic than anything else.

  • ADD / ADHD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @07:17PM (#54161831)

    FTS: "... experiments found that operators monitoring screens reportedly maintained peak performance for 20 hours -- rather than experience the usual drop-off in concentration after 20 minutes.

    I've read that TES helps people with ADD / ADHD - it's good to see experimental results from a different field of application that suggest it may be true. It just might be time for me to build my own TES device. [instructables.com]

  • Didn't go so well for Hemmingway.....

  • Sounds like a great idea, not! Nobody knows what the long term effects will be for this kind of experimentation. They should do some long term studies on volunteers first before making this kind of stuff widespread.
  • And so begins the zombie apocalypse.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To me this sounds as amoral as using drugs in combat.

  • by TJHook3r ( 4699685 ) on Monday April 03, 2017 @06:43AM (#54163397)
    I'm beginning to wonder if the military is not just a clever invention by scientists to get funding for cool stuff like the internet, VR, smart drugs and electrical brain zappers... If academics asked for this research directly they would be laughed out of the country, but if they dress it up as new ways to kill foreigners it's suddenly ok... people have such weird priorities!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    An interesting technical subject (TDCS seems to well-tolerated) with obvious general applications (long sessions of flow without drugs), and this is the quality of comments? Poor old Slashdot, I think we're done.

    • Well, you're not the only one disappointed...& use of tCDS wouldn't necessarily even make the "educated stupid" / Intellectual Yet Idiots any "smarter", in that it would probably make them better at operating ill-formed minds. There was at least one good post: https://tech.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org] But yes, truly tragic. Makes me miss kuro5hin!
      • What I find truly idiotic is the association with PES. Performance enhancement in general seems like something libertarian/ancap/anarchist minds might approve of. I wonder what's happened to the intelligent people on the internet? Surely not all have hopped off to greener ponds...
  • Shouldn't it be "Defense Innovation, Experimental"? Ooh, wait, bad acronym.

  • There are also reports [npr.org] that college students are using this technology to get better test scores.
  • As Seen on Napoleon Dynamite!
  • will we end up as being Klingons, Ferengi, Vulkans, or Humans. That's all. So far I'm inclined to believe some mix between Klingons and Ferengi. Stupid, greedy, warmongering savages.
  • Coming soon, this device will be required to be worn by all boys in grade school.
    Side affects, what side affects? This will only be used on men and boys, it's not as if society cares about them enough to worry about side affects.
  • I thought the already perfected LSD et al?!...

Natural laws have no pity.

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