MAGIC AI goggles being developed to assist combat medics
DARPA has selected Raytheon BBN to lead a team to develop an augmented reality device that can act as a virtual assistant for combat medics, guiding them through 50 different medical procedures using artificial intelligence.
When it comes to increasing the chances of a battlefield casualty surviving, a field medic is the single most important factor. This is because medics are the first on the scene and give aid in what is called the Golden Hour, or even the Golden Ten Minutes. This is the time when prompt aid can mean the difference between life and death if swift and correct action is taken before sending the casualty to the rear for proper treatment.
The problem is that, while they are highly trained, medics are not usually surgeons or doctors and they often may not have the experience to administer little-used procedures at a moment's notice. For this reason, DARPA is working on its Medical Assistance, Guidance, Instruction, and Correction (MAGIC) system that consists of an off-the-shelf pair of augmented reality goggles equipped with audio and video sensors that allow an AI assistant to monitor the situation and advise the medic as to how to proceed.
According to Raytheon, MAGIC would be able to handle this formidable task thanks to machine learning that would allow the system to learn medical skills and the ability to make assessments by studying 2,500 stereo videos and almost 50 million images. This large library of information would allow MAGIC to learn in much the same way as the millions of users of digital assistants who unconsciously teach the devices how to understand and speak English and other languages in a variety of dialects and accents without laborious programming.
When it is properly trained, the hope is that MAGIC will be able to provide spoken suggestions to the medic or project visual overlays on the scene to guide their hands. In addition, the system could suggest follow-on steps, show flow charts of procedures, give measurements, note elapsed times, and determine dosages of medications.
The first demonstration of MAGIC is slated to begin in about 18 months.
"The combat medical environment is challenging and chaotic," said Raytheon BBN scientist Brian VanVoorst. "Our goal for the Raytheon BBN MAGIC AI tool is to help support personnel to provide guidance as needed without disrupting their concentration."