USAF researching brain stimulation for performance enhancement

click to enlargeAt the Air Force Research Lab, Applied Neuroscience Branch at Wright-Patterson AFB, researchers are testing transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) as a performance enhancer. We noted last August that DARPA was one of the lead research organizations on tDCS for mental illness and neurological problems [TTA 18 Aug 14]. AFRL is evaluating its effects on boosting cognition, memory and attention–all important factors when one is flying RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft, a/k/a drones) for multiple hours in front of a computer console. USAF RPA pilots (a/k/a Drone Drivers) now log three times as many flight hours as do pilots of real aircraft, which says volumes about priorities. Drone Drivers are also reporting combat fatigue and high levels of stress, so AFRL is also evaluating non-invasive ways of detection through pupil dilation and heart rate. Video (09:16)  USAF photo. Also Mosaic Science (Wellcome Trust)

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