This year’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) awarded “Best Paper” honors to the teams from Clay Strategic Designs and Qneuro for their work on the use of neurotechnology to enhance and improve military training. Their innovative work integrates real-time brain monitoring with adaptive teaching and assessment platforms to optimize learning.

“The U.S. Department of Defense is always searching for improved training methodologies that can maintain and increase military readiness, and with the roll out of the Enterprise Digital Learning Modernization initiative, the personalization of training will now become possible based on data we can gather during training,” said Dr. JJ Walcutt, lead author and former director of innovation for the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative under the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The ability to measure what the brain is doing in real-time and then use that data to drive training decisions and build operational supports creates boundless opportunities.”

The winning paper, Neuro-optimization for Accelerated Learning Pace and Elevated Comprehension: Military Applications, provides a detailed discussion about how to ruggedize and optimize the EEG headset using the fewest number of sensors on the head, while still providing reliable data at a price point low enough to allow wide-scale use.

“Reducing the number of channels used and defining their optimal locations allows us to measure cognitive load with a level of precision that can enhance individualized military training and improve decision-making,” said Cort Horton, Ph.D., cognitive neuroscientist at Qneuro.

“Faster, better, cheaper” has been the long running mantra and expectation of the U.S. Department of Defense, but to achieve these goals, new approaches and conceptualizations of training – and the measurement of improvement – must be considered.

Personalized training that optimizes not only the physical, but also the cognitive abilities of future warfighters, has been a significant organizational reframe in the Navy’s Sailor 2025, the U.S. Air Force’s Learning Ecosystem, and the Army’s revisions to the Army Learning Model.

“Imagine if we could provide initial recruits individualized training that meets them at their current capability level and then elevates them to the level the military needs at a rate faster than we’ve ever achieved,” explained Col (Ret.) Walt Yates, an expert in modeling and simulation, military acquisitions, and the former USMC Program Manager for Training Systems. “Now consider reducing attrition of those individuals due to their improved success. At a cost of approximately $30,000 per failed recruit, even a 10 percent savings would be tremendous, and if used across multiple areas of enhancement, we would change the entire game.”

Qneuro is bringing their expertise into the defense and security sector community so that decision-making, emotional reactivity, resilience, and accelerated cognitive flow can be maintained and exploited for the intellectual force of the future.

“The brain is the next great frontier of discovery, and we live at a unique time in history where technology affords us the ability to observe and interact with the brain in ways which, to now, have only been in the realm of science fiction,” said Dr. Dhiraj Jeyanandarajan, neurologist and Qneuro founder. “We are ready to transfer these capabilities to the defense community and security of our nation.”