The US army plans to create a generation of super soldiers.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), which is part of the US Department of Defense has revealed a plethora of plans to create an elite fighting force.
One of the projects on the horizon is to create software which could be uploaded directly to the brain to give their soldiers heightened senses while also attempting to cure ailments such as blindness, paralysis and speech disorders creating an army of Captain Americas.
DARPA will plough £50million into researching the role neural networks play in operating the brains in order to decipher how it processes sensory input.
They will then hopefully create technologies and algorithms which can interpret and generate signals in the brain.
A statement from DARPA said the programme, known as the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD), “aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide advanced signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the brain and electronics”.
The implant will act as a translator, converting digital communication like binary code into an electrochemical language used by the brain.
NESD program manager Phillip Alvelda said that its brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) “program looks ahead to a future in which advanced neural devices offer improved fidelity, resolution, and precision sensory interface for therapeutic applications.”
Another project boffins at DARPA are working on is the ability to give super-human sight to its soldiers.
The Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) program is attempting to create a small contact lens which would improve fighters vision tenfold.
Research began on this project in 2011, and DARPA hopes to “develop novel computational imaging capabilities and explore joint design of hardware and software to give war fighters access to systems that greatly enhance their awareness, security and survivability.”
DARPA is also working on technologies outside of the body to make their soldiers stronger and faster, such as the XOS range.
The XOS 2 is an exoskeleton, that is currently being developed in conjunction with UK technology firm Raytheon, that soldiers will one day be able to wear and make them 17 times stronger.
Raytheon VP of operations Fraser Smith told Time: “This got started mostly because of the need that the military has for lightening the soldiers’ load.
“It’s a big deal, both from the point of view of the size of the backpacks that they carry, and also the logistics support that’s basically mandatory for all of the operations that people carry out.“
However, due to the immense amount of power that is required to run the exoskeleton, it needs to be charged constantly, but work on a cordless model is underway.