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Big Think extends a warm thank you to Cogito and the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University for facilitating this interview. Steven Castellano is a senior at High[…]

Pilots in particular need to remain alert over long periods of time.

Question: Why is the military interested in acupressure?

Steven Castellano: This research also does have particular applications for the armed forces. I think it was Dr. Louis Czoka, he is the founder of a Center for Enhanced Training at West Point and he said that at no time other than today has there been a greater demand for the army to invest in the means to regulate alertness. And what he means by this is that the army's requiring all types of advanced technology, they have, like let's say the soldier, he'd be looking at the GPS device that he'd be looking up a broad field, so like a broad view in the real world so you're going from a narrow focus to a wider focus, it requires a lot of visual attention skills. Definitely air traffic controllers. When I visited the Federal Aviation Administration I was shocked, like there's all interfaces going on. The same with pilots, you're going from looking at interfaces to looking out, so there's a lot of things that require visual attention skills and training of that and I think that's what they're interested in.

So, when I presented it, I presented to 4th Mammoth at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, and when I presented to them a lot of people asked me to forward their paper. So I think definitely more research would have to be done: looking into how acupressure trains alertness over time; if we could apply acupressure for longer or shorter periods of time; how that would affect it if there were certain points that were more effective. So they are definitely looking into that and I mean it would be a long process for them to implement acupressure training into the armed forces, but it's definitely something that there is a lot of interest in and that we might want one day see.

Recorded on: May 8, 2009