Military scientists at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will develop super high-tech goggles which, according to officials, will be able to pick out a needle on the surface of a haystack.

The fine detail optical surveillance (FDOS) binoculars will use optical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technology to provide ultra high-resolution 3D images for rapid, in-field identification of a range of targets.

DARPA hopes the FDOS system will spot small items without the need for scanning or focusing of the optical receiver.

The technology could have more soldier portable applications such as binoculars or goggles for infantry as well as big rigs intended for mounting on spy drones.