Defense Dept. Agents Getting High-Tech Spy Glasses

Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 09:04 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Defense Department has ordered 500 Google Glass-like spy glasses to give agents in the field a high-tech intelligence edge, according to Defense One.

Called X6, the glasses are from San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group and can provide "situational intelligence" and facial recognition data in an instant, Defense One says.

"We don't make weapons," they company's founder, Ralph Osterhout, told Tech Crunch in March. "We make things that can help people do their jobs."

Defense One reported it got a demo on how X6 works at Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters in Washington, when it "looked through the glasses at a static, two-dimensional map and suddenly structures appeared in three dimensions related to objects of interest."

Bobby King, vice president of special projects for Osterhout, told Defense One the map was just a regular print of a satellite photograph, but the glasses send information to a server that processes the image to depict a location, complete with structures and special instructions.

"The view was smarter and more useful than what you would see with Google Glass, but didn't get in the way of the user's ability to actually see, like a clunky virtual reality headset," Defense One reported.

Another app showed off a facial-recognition program that lets the spy glass wearer take a glimpse at someone nearby and then match their likeness with information in a database.
In theory, the Pentagon could program the biometrics of someone into a database linked to the glasses, which would pop up as you're looking at a person of interest, the blog RT.com noted.

The glasses might be used for gaming and training too; Defense One cited Tech Crunch's report that Microsoft has a $150 million deal with Osterhout.

But gamers will have to wait.

"It's not yet commercially available, but for the government, yes," King said.

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