Microwave Journal

HRL to Continue Work on Bio-inspired Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System

August 31, 2009

HRL Laboratories LLC announced it has received Phase 2 funding to continue developing the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System, or CT2WS. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the goal of the CT2WS program is to improve warfighter situational awareness in a variety of operations, including reconnaissance, surveillance and standard infantry tactical fighting.

HRL’s bio-inspired threat warning system, dubbed SENTINEL or SystEm for Notification of Threats Inspired by Neurally Enabled Learning, combines cognitive, neural, and adaptive elements into a fully-integrated, portable warning device that will enable fighting forces to rapidly detect and assess long- and short-range threats in real time.

SENTINEL depends on sophisticated algorithms that model how the human visual cortex scans complex scenes while monitoring and decoding the operator’s brain signals through electroencephalogram (EEG). “These algorithms find a set of regions within the scene that may contain potential threats,” explained Dr. Deepak Khosla, Senior Scientist in HRL’s Information System Sciences Office and program manager for CT2WS.

“We are using the operator ‘brain-in-the-loop’ in SENTINEL to find threats that are context-specific and operator-specific, which makes this system applicable and adaptable to a variety of conditions. It also incorporates operator training directly into improving the system’s performance for the specific mission.”

In its Phase 1 effort, HRL led a team of commercial contractors and universities in developing cognitive-neural algorithms and methods to demonstrate the ability of SENTINEL to quickly and accurately detect threats. The team designed and built a 20 x 20-degree field-of-view prototype based on these algorithms and tested the device at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. In Phase 2, the team will extend the device’s algorithms and design to address rapid threat detection in an ultra-wide 120 x 20-degree field-of-view device.

CT2WS is one of the pioneering research efforts at HRL that are advancing the state-of-the-art in brain-machine intelligence. HRL is collaborating on the program with system integrator L3-Brashear and subcontractors the University of Southern California, Georgia Institute of Technology, Neuro-Matters Consulting, Neuromorfix and Advanced Brain Monitoring.