No matter how many spy cams
and unmanned surveillance drones
government and law enforcement officials can pack into public spaces, their utility has traditionally been limited by the finite amount of footage human monitors can review in a given time frame. New DARPA-sponsored research out of Columbia University, however, may soon allow folks tasked with keeping an eye on video feeds to perform their jobs up to ten times faster -- by leveraging the rapid image processing abilities of cortical vision. Since people are able to recognize suspicious activity much more quickly than they can consciously identify what's wrong, professor Paul Sajda and his team developed a computer-brain interface device -- similar to ones we've seen control an on-screen cursor
and bionic limb
-- that monitors an operator's neural output while he/she is watching streaming footage, and tags specific images for later perusal. Once the technology is perfected in the coming months (it still emits too many false positives, apparently), it could allow for more thinly-staffed monitoring departments, though we suspect it will probably just convince officials to deploy more and more cameras.