Journalists from EverCare published an extremely interesting review on the work of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the US Department of Defense, which is sometimes called the Crazy Science Project Management.
The Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program, adopted two years ago, studies safe neurostimulation methods to activate the synaptic plasticity of the human brain - that is, its ability to change the connection points of neurons, adapting to environmental changes. Using these methods, DARPA hopes to create a regimen for the nervous system in which the brain can quickly learn by “loading new knowledge” directly instead of long and tiring lessons. Moreover, it is supposed to create a device that stimulates peripheral nerves through the skin. Thus, the cost and duration of training for different skills will be reduced, and translators, scouts, cryptographers, etc. will be quickly trained. In addition, it is planned to use these technologies for the training of civilian specialists...
Today, DARPA, to develop a unified technology, finances immediately 8 such projects in 7 American universities.
Learn muscle regeneration
DARPA commissioned researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and other universities to develop a device in which artificial intelligence, bioelectronics, and regenerative medicine technologies are combined into a single unit to restore muscle tissue, especially after wounds and shell shocks.
It is known that if more than 20% of muscles are damaged, their tissue loses its ability to complete regeneration, creating a hard scar instead of such a muscle, which entails the disability of its owner. Scientists are working to create such a device that could change the environment in large wounds so that they heal completely, like small ones - in just two weeks without scarring. This will be done using a device implanted inside the wound and monitoring the molecular signals at each stage of healing in order to deliver specific molecules at a particular time.
Make the body heal on its own
In the ElectRX project, which was launched back in 2014, a closed system for the treatment of diseases by modulating the activity of peripheral nerves is being developed. It will be used to treat chronic pain, various inflammatory diseases, post-traumatic stresses and similar diseases.
The system is being developed by 7 research teams funded by DARPA, each team focusing on developing experimental optogenetic methods for treating neuropathic pain and stimulating the vagus nerve to treat post-traumatic stress.
Human body parts development
By order of the agency, Embody is working on the technology of assembling collagen at the molecular level into a biocompatible repair autonomous Microbrace material with a 3D structure that can be customized to repair damage to the anterior cruciate ligaments and mechanical stability of the knee joints. Needless to say, how much it will become in demand in medicine!
The system of monitoring the health of fighters during the battle
The development of a system for monitoring the health of military personnel during hostilities will allow monitoring their combat readiness and during the recording of manifestations of weakness using the data collected on the sensors of the smartphone. So accelerometers, microphones and other sensor devices will calculate physiological signals to analyze the state of health and identify health problems . These sensors will also monitor the functioning of the lungs, measure blood pressure, recognize the degree of injury, track movements and record the fall of soldiers during battle.
Super Pathogen Detector
The DIGET (Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies) project, launched by the agency last year, is designed to create two devices to detect pathogenic threats.
A single device that does not contain electronics, but rather looks like a pregnancy test, can detect at least 10 pathogens in 15 minutes. Another, much more advanced with the help of 1000 diagnostic tests lasting the same 15 minutes, using gene editing methods in their work, will determine the presence of the pathogen and its specificity - drug resistance, severity of infection and associated infections.
Neuro prostheses of a new type
A program called Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) is designed to develop a new type of neuro prosthesis working on the brain-computer interface technology and capable of not only restoring, but also expanding the range of human senses, including visual, auditory and speech capabilities.
By improving communications between the brain and gadgets, it will be possible to convert the brain's electrochemical signals into computer binary code. The device will be an implant in the brain of less than 1 cubic centimeter in size, serving as a “translator” between digital systems and the electrochemical language of the brain. Some experts believe that it will make it possible to program a human neural code and not only be able to treat patients who have lost the ability to feel, using digital introduction of various sensations and feelings into the brain, but it will expand the “sensitive” capabilities of the brain.
Recovering memory after brain injuries
The Restoring Active Memory (RAM) project will mitigate the effects of brain injuries using neurotechnologies that will facilitate the formation and restoration of memory. It will be a wireless implant with a neural interface, stimulating the restoration of normal memory function. In the framework of the project, scientists study animals and people in order to create models that take into account the coding and search for complex memories and memory attributes, including their hierarchical associations with each other.
Improving skills development opportunities
And the last project in the selection is RAM Replay. It aims to make military training more effective through non-invasive interventions - including increasing combat readiness by reducing the response time to sudden threats.
Such non-invasive feedback systems will provide neural “repetitions” when forming memory and storing information, helping to better remember specific events and acquired skills. Sensory signals (for example, specific odors) and electrical stimulation of the scalp can improve the memorization of certain skills.