DARPA-Funded Organizations to Create Surgeryless Brain-Machine Interfaces

Six organizations will help the Pentagon’s emerging tech arm develop brain-machine interfaces, which in the future could be used for national security purposes.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced May 20 it has awarded funding to Battelle Memorial Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center Rice University and Teledyne Scientific.

These teams will develop high-resolution, bidirectional brain-machine interfaces that will be used by able-bodied service members. Approaches that use optics, acoustics and electromagnetics will be explored, DARPA said.

The idea is that these wearable technologies could be used in various national security applications, for example, controlling active cyber defense systems and swarms of drones.

“If N3 is successful, we’ll end up with wearable neural interface systems that can communicate with the brain from a range of just a few millimeters, moving neurotechnology beyond the clinic and into practical use for national security,” said N3 program manager Al Emondi in a release. “Just as service members put on protective and tactical gear in preparation for a mission, in the future they might put on a headset containing a neural interface, use the technology however it’s needed, then put the tool aside when the mission is complete.”

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