The Human Effectiveness Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) 711th Human Performance Wing is researching “human signatures” for the purpose of developing technologies that can “sense and exploit human bio-signatures at both the molecular and macro-level.”
The objective of the US Air Force’s Human-Centered Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) Leveraged Science and Technology (S&T) Program is to “develop technologies to discover, characterize, and transition biological-based signatures (biosignatures) to enable effective human and environmental threat detection, identification and exploitation, and operator performance assessment across a variety of Air Force mission areas.”
The sensors required for these goals must be developed to detect and collect biosignatures – in addition to the development of analytics and information to process, analyze, and utilize biosignature data. An end-user system must be created that can integrate biosignatures into a layered sensor network and provide analysis, visualization, and prediction tools in order to exploit the data.
The Air Force explained that while “current ISR systems are ideal for identifying and tracking entities such as aircraft and vehicles,” they, “are less capable of identifying and tracking” humans. A large number of sophisticated sensors currently exist, but turning the gathered sensor data into usable and actionable information remains a major challenge. Research continues in the area of improving data fusion and analysis but remains “system-centric” and does not adequately address the human element.
The current scope of the Air Force’s human-centered ISR research examines the complete range of human performance – beginning at the individual molecular, cellular, and genomic level, and progressing to complex human-to-human and human-to-machine interactions. Human-centered ISR reaches across multiple domains – such as air, space, and cyber – and is expected to have broad applications to other Department of Defense organizations, as well as the Intelligence Community.