#558: Sentry-sight

I’m reliably informed that night-time sentry duty is particularly hard work if you happen to find yourself in some branch of the military. Needless to say, night is exactly when an alert watch is most required by one’s comrades-in-khaki.

Aside from the itchy uniform and the extreme boredom, sentries suffer from hallucinations. Nothing to do with a bracing pint or two in the mess, anyone who stares at a randomly textured field will start to see predominantly the faces of people and animal shapes. It’s not clear why, but if you look at white noise on a screen, viewed slightly defocussed, a similar thing happens (at about every third fixation).

Such visions are known to cause rookie soldiers, who have been watching a darkened beach or forest or field, to start firing -afraid that they are under attack by people they believe are real. Today’s invention attempts to overcome this (interesting) problem.

The sentry is equipped with a foot-operated switch which briefly activates a bright lamp situated at some distance from him and pointing in the direction of his view. This keeps him largely unseen, and may startle or blind any real assailants whilst destroying any illusory ones.

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