June 05, 2015

Every Soldier an Eagle Eyed Marksman on future battlefields

There a few methods for boosting vision to about 20 / 7.5. That would mean they could clearly see something at 20 feet away (6.1 meters) that mere mortals could only make out from a distance of 7.5 feet (2.3 m).

1) is a brain training exercises, which were tested on baseball players.
2) Another are improved laser eye surgery
3) Bionic lens which would be inserted into the eye. This could be availabe in 2017

Healthy young observers may have a binocular acuity superior to 20/20; the limit of acuity in the unaided human eye is around 20 / 10–20 / 8, although 20 / 8.9 was the highest score recorded in a study of some US professional athletes. Some birds of prey, such as hawks, are believed to have an acuity of around 20 / 2.

There is a limit for improving visual acuity without increasing the size of the eye.

Th US Army is developing an exoskeleton that automatically and effortlessly steadies a soldier’s firing arm.

There are of course, low-tech gun rests and other commercial devices for improving aim on the market, but the new Mobile Arm Exoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization (MAXFAS) seeks to bring even more advanced technology to the process, actively sensing and canceling out even slight arm trembling, while also keeping the shooter’s arm free to point at different targets.

“Army soldiers have to be able to hit a target at over 300 yards away,” says Daniel Baechle, a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland, and one of MAXFAS’s creators. “That's more than three football fields put end-to-end. Prior to basic training, many soldiers have never tried to hit a target that far away.”

MAXFAS should help them get up to speed much more quickly. The system relies on a network of cables and sensors to detect movement, then pulls on the shooter's arm as if he or she were a marionette.

Braces equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes are attached to the shooter’s forearm and upper arm with velcro straps. These sensors then detect the shooter’s minute arm movements and transfer the data to microchips, where computer algorithms distinguish the shooter’s involuntary tremors from his or her voluntary motions.

MAXFAS is made with carbon fiber composite materials that weigh just 10 ounces. Future versions could incorporate lightweight motors in a backpack to make the exoskeleton mobile

The researchers found 14 of the 15 shooters shot better while wearing MAXFAS than before it, with accuracy improving by 27 percent across the group on average.

There may also be applications for MAXFAS outside the military. For example, it could help assist hunters, or even be modified to help train skills such as golf swings, tennis swings, or billiards shots.

Baseball players typically have sharp eyes to start, but by spending a total of 12 hours training their eyes to spot contrast, they can improve that vision to about 20 / 7.5, said Aaron Seitz, who runs the Brain Games Center for Mental Fitness and Wellbeing at the University of California, Riverside.

The players also reported better peripheral and low-light vision.

17 UC Riverside Highlanders baseball players were given daily 25-minute sessions over the course of a month. As a control, the pitchers on the team did visual assessment tests but were not given the training.

During the training, the team had to distinguish the shape of a so-called Gabor patch, in which a circle is made out of a grating with light and dark colors. The patches have been shown to strongly stimulate the brain cells responsible for visual perception. The players' ability to distinguish the contrast improved, the contrast in the grating got fainter and the task got harder. At the end of the task, the players' eyesight had improved by about 30 percent on a visual acuity test, and many of them reported subjective improvements in their vision. The Highlanders won an average of 4.7 more games in their 54-game season.

The tiny Bionic Lens, which looks like a tiny button, would be inserted into the eye during an eight-minute surgery where the patient’s sight would be corrected instantly. The device would be folded like a taco in a saline-filled syringe, and then it would be implanted into the eye, where it would be placed in position within 10 seconds. The surgery would be available only to patients of at least 25 years of age, since people that age have eyes that fully matured.

Dr. Garth Webb and his team worked on the technology for eight years, spending $3 million on research and development.

“This is vision enhancement that the world has never seen before,” he said. “If you can just barely see the clock at 10 feet, when you get the Bionic Lens you can see the clock at 30 feet away.”

Even though the Bionic Lens sounds very exciting, the product will require additional testing before becoming commercially available. The device will undergo trials on animals and then blind human eyes at first. The final product could be available as soon as 2017.

Ultimate Observation

Human vision is about 50 megapixels to 1.3 gigapixels.

Other's estimate that DARPA's 50 gigapixel camera has five times more resolution than the eyesight of a human with 20/20 vision. Eagles are thought to have vision four times better than a human, so the new prototype camera is supposedly sharper even than an eagle’s eye.

Combat effectiveness is more complicated than just being a good shot having good vision or having a strength enhancing exoskeleton

The US Army has studied the best ways to enable US soldiers to overmatch other soldiers

They are looking at tactical small unit training, movement and leveraging increased portable power.

Soldiers on foot have less "strength" and speed than soldiers in vehicles but unmounted soldiers have defeated mechanized opponents.

Being a good sniper is about more than just marksmenship

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