Spy Spectacles for The US Defense Department


Obtaining much needed information from the outside without drawing any attention from other people is a typical spy problem. Another spy problem is the ability of spy agents to match the faces to the names in the real world with their actual target. The Defense Department eyes to solve problems such as these by buying spy specs to give spies in the field and edge over other people.

These glasses are called X6. They are made in a San Francisco based Osterhout Design Group. They are similar to the appearance of Google Glass and Oculus Rift.

Bobby King, the Vice President of Osterhout, conducted a demonstration on how the device is able to provide situational intelligence during a recent innovation symposium at the Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters in Washington, DC. He confirmed that the map was just a typical print of a satellite photograph.

The glasses are capable of sending information to a server, and are able to set the image against others to determine the location captured. They then present data from the database in structures, instructions, clues and so on. This feature doesn’t get in the way of the ability to actually see through the glasses without difficulty.

“Augmented reality is the fusion of data and your real environment. We’re looking for an immersive feeling, but not virtual,” King said.

Aside from being able to use theses glasses for maps, they can also be used for gaming and training too. With this, it has been said that Microsoft took on an intellectual property deal with the company for about $150 million.

Imagus, a year old start up based in Australia developed a program for the X6 that provides data such as name and relevance about a person captured through the glasses. With the Imagus facial recognition app, the tester while looking through the glasses at a picture of faces will see a pair of small circles materialize on the eyes of the targets and then will show a match in the view as demonstrated from General Dynamics Information Technology, GDIT, highlights the “dynamic environment of non-cooperative facial recognition.”

According to Steve Brain, the lead software engineer of the Imagus app, the app is able to match a face in real time to one database with a resolution of just twelve pixels between the eyes. He also confirmed that the glasses may also be amended so that it will be able to be connected to a military biometrics database such as BEWL.

The General Dynamics Information Technology is working hand in hand with Imagus, Osterhout and some small companies to to able to develop a number of apps and programs that will for the X6 glasses.

“What they want with the glasses is to bring in a lot of different applications. Facial recognition technologies from images is just one example,” Lynn Schnurr, Vice President at General Dynamics Information Technology, told Defense One.

According to Bobby King, the Defense Department has acquired 500 beta units of the glasses. Unfortunately, the government’s spy specs cannot be used for gaming of consumers just yet. “It’s not yet commercially available, but for the government, yes.”

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