DARPA wants to put chips in the brain of soldiers to help with mental illness


On many occasions, soldiers return from duty with several mental defects that are due to the riveting experience of war. Currently, there’s no real treatment for such cases, but DARPA is aiming to fix that with a chip in the brain. Yes, DotTech reader, DARPA wants to render the psychiatrist useless; so if you’re planning to enter that career field, you may want to think twice.

The project is worth $70 million, and is designed “to develop and apply therapies that incorporate near real-time recording, analysis and stimulation in next-generation devices inspired by current Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).” That’s basically the long version of saying we’re creating a brain chip that will help the military get a handle on its mental health problems.

Furthermore, the agency’s Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) seeks to understand how these mental health problems manifest in the brain, and how neuropsychiatry might provide better treatment options for veterans.

“If SUBNETS is successful, it will advance neuropsychiatry beyond the realm of dialogue-driven observations and resultant trial and error and into the realm of therapy driven by quantifiable characteristics of neural state,” said Justin Sanchez, DARPA program manager. “SUBNETS is a push toward innovative, informed and precise neurotechnological therapy to produce major improvements in quality of life for service members and veterans who have very few options with existing therapies. These are patients for whom current medical understanding of diseases like chronic pain or fatigue, unmanageable depression or severe post-traumatic stress disorder can’t provide meaningful relief.”

You might think deep brain research is a new thing, however; that’s not the case. The technology is also being used as a treatment for patients with spinal cord injuries, chronic pain, severe depression and other conditions.

The whole thing sounds a bit crazy, but hey, by now we should all know that DARPA is the place where crazy things happen on a regular basis.

[via DARPA, image via Cigar Night Online]

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  • Seamus McSeamus

    We already have programmable people. Here in the used-to-be-good-old-USA they vote for the same two political parties over and over, even though the results continue to be worse and worse.

  • John K

    Found Dollhouse on the web, downloading. A man forewarned…

  • John K

    The ones in the circus don’t bother me either, but…
    This Roz appears to be a fount of wisdom. Politicians all over the world will be rubbing their hands in anticipation. That’s what worries Roz and me. It’ll be 1984 squared.

  • [@John K] I’m sure that thought is going through more than one head in Washington right now.
    In today’s “Shoe” comic the Perfessor asks Roz “A lot of folks think clowns are scary. How about you?”
    She answers “The ones in the circus don’t bother me. The one’s in Washington, on the other hand. . ..”

  • Mags

    [@Ashraf] Was a good show while it lasted, ended too soon, but like Jerico, politicians didn’t like it.

  • Ashraf

    [@John K] The has long ended, but it was about pretty much what you mention — programmable citizens.

  • John K

    Haven’t, no.

  • Ashraf

    [@John K] Ever seen Dollhouse?

  • John K

    The politician’s wet dream. Programmable citizens. Coming soon to this theatre.