The US Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, wants to connect the human brain and machines. Innovation-Gamechangers.com is intrigued by their concept to develop ubiquitous, noninvasive neurotechnology to integrate humans and machines. This would create unprecedented brain-machine connections.
The genesis of this highly advanced and ambitious program is 21st century warfighting. There is a compelling need for combat units to very quickly and effectively process and transmit critical information between cyber systems, unmanned platforms and the human brain. To ramp up high quality levels of brain-machine communications that will be needed on future battlefields, DARPA has launched a new program. The goal is to develop a noninvasive, neural interface that will strategically connect the soldier with technology.
Next Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology – The N3 Program
The purpose of the N3 program, according to DARPA, is to find a path to a safe, portable, neural interface system that can read from and write to multiple points in the brain simultaneously. Multidisciplinary teams of DARPA scientists are working on this. Scientists want to develop approaches that generate precise intervention with very small areas of the brain. And they want to do it without compromising signal resolution or create unacceptable slowness in the system.
There are many scientific and engineering challenges that DARPA has to overcome. According to DARPA, the most significant challenge is the physics of the scattering and wavering of the signals as they pierce through the skin, bone and brain tissue.
If this is resolved, the next step is to develop algorithms for coding and decoding neural signals. Then, animal testing would ensue to evaluate how safe the system is. And, then finally humans would be asked to volunteer to test the technology.
Communications neurotechnology has largely been in the realm of science fiction. But DARPA believes its four year project bringing the best and the brightest minds to bear on the project could lead to significant breakthroughs.
Realizing the potential ethical, social and legal questions and implications of human-machine teaming, DARPA has engaged legal and ethical experts to independently advise them as N3 technologies mature.
DARPA hopes to develop smart systems that provide human-machine teaming to significantly help and provide a big strategic advantage to our troops in the future.
Innovation-Gamechangers.com believes this is technology that could be gamechanging and disruptive. It could have implications well beyond the battlefield.
For more information, go to https://www.DARPA.mil
and check out our podcasts with DARPA and blogs on DARPA research at http://innovation-gamechangers.com