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DARPA Commissions Research into Brain Implant

Mental illness is one of the biggest problems plaguing the U.S. military. Worse than that, more soldiers die from suicide than in any actual armed conflict these days; more than one in nine medical discharges is due to mental illness.

The Department of Defense's research arm, DARPA, has commissioned a $70 million project that will allow them to monitor the brain in real-time. Codenamed SUBNETS (Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies), the tech takes cues from Deep Brain Stimulation, a recent surgical treatment that uses electrical impulses to treat several different mental illnesses.

DARPA program manager Justin Sanchez said, "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… 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."

SUBNETS will be using data gathered from unrelated mental illnesses and look for patterns, hopefully producing a working prototype inside of a few years.

"We're talking about a whole systems approach to the brain, not a disease-by-disease examination of a single process or a subset of processes," Sanchez said. "SUBNETS is going to be a cross-disciplinary, expansive team effort, and the program will integrate and build upon historical DARPA research investments."

While this is all really interesting in principle, I'm not so sure I want the military knowing what's going on in anyone's head, NSA PRISM and rampant wiretapping being what it is these days.

  • cklaubur
    Am I the only one thinking of Metal Gear Solid 4 after reading this?

    Casey
    Reply
  • Onus
    I was thinking "Terminal Man" myself.
    Reply
  • Tuishimi
    I was having flash-forwards to Terminator...
    Reply
  • Axonn
    Or let's mind control soldiers into faithful little drones. 'cause now-a-days sometimes they get independent. And that's baaaaaaaaad.
    Reply
  • FloKid
    I hope you pay over priced for you crimes.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Someday men finally understand women and vice versa.
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    Onus, I thought I was the only one left alive who'd read The Terminal Man. :)
    Reply
  • Stevemeister
    The fundamental problem is people were not made to kill each other - doing so will cause problems in all but the most hardened psychopaths. Words from Chris Cornell's James Bond theme "You Know My Name" . . . . . . "If you take a life, do you know what you'll give, Odds are, you won't like what it is"
    Reply
  • blackjackedy
    11819759 said:
    The fundamental problem is people were not made to kill each other - doing so will cause problems in all but the most hardened psychopaths. Words from Chris Cornell's James Bond theme "You Know My Name" . . . . . . "If you take a life, do you know what you'll give, Odds are, you won't like what it is"

    I wouldn't say we're not meant to kill each other. Normally we don't, but if it comes to a point when people might kill each other, the person who killed lives to reproduce and the one who didn't will not have that chance.

    I realise that's a huge simplification and one example but I don't think it's so clean cut that we're not meant to kill each other.
    Reply
  • digiex
    DAPRA wants to convert US soldiers into fearless/remorseless/merciless killing machine.
    Reply