Design

U.S. One Step Closer to Making Bionic Supersoldiers a Reality

by Isis Madrid

January 6, 2015

The U.S. military is creating an army of Wolverines. DARPA’s ElectRX (pronounced “electrics”) project is currently developing tiny microchips to implant in the bodies of active-duty service members and veterans that would essentially give them the power of self-healing.

The neuromodulation treatment would sense pain or irregularity in the body and then transmit electrical currents to stimulate the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nervous system into corrective frequencies, calibrating the body’s often adverse reaction to infection, injury, and other inconsistencies. Like an intelligent neurological pacemaker, ElectRX would adapt to each individual, providing different stimulation patterns for each patient.

"Many chronic illnesses occur when the body's natural neuroelectrical and biochemical rhythms are disrupted, like playing wrong notes in music," said Doug Weber, DARPA program manager. "ElectRx seeks to understand what the 'right notes' are for each person and provide real-time treatment to help the patient achieve and enjoy a harmonious, healthy baseline."

ElectRX’s research is currently focused on inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome as well as mental and brain health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, anxiety, and depression.

The program, which President Obama cited this summer as a notable way the government is trying to improve the health of U.S. military members past and present, recently placed a call for research proposals.

Courtesy of DARPA

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U.S. One Step Closer to Making Bionic Supersoldiers a Reality