DARPA is looking to get their hands on soldiers minds from the outside in, by using a gadget that installs in the helmet to regulate things such as alertness, cognition, pain, and psychiatric well-being.
William Tyler, a neuroscientist from Arizona State University has been working with funds from the Army Research Laboratory for several years, and his work has caught the eye of DARPA.
The mind-control device basically works through a “transcranial pulsed ultrasound” method to stimulate brain circuits from outside of the skull. This is much more convenient than other deep-brain approaches that require invasive surgery to implant electrodes and the like. Furthermore, the technology has proven capable of penetrating deep brain regions, and can zero in on specific brain zones as small as two millimeters.
The device fits snugly into a soldiers helmet and is controlled by a microcontroller. The ultrasound of the device stimulates different brain regions to improve soldier alertness and cognition, and relieve stress and pain, and other traumatic brain injuries.
We’re not too far off from a Metal Gear Solid universe after all.
Read More | Wired
Lockheed Martin has at least brought us into the era of exo-skeleton suits with their Human Universal Load Carrier, or ‘HULC’ for short. HULC works by transferring weight carried on the soldier to the ground by way of its titanium (sorry, no adamantium just yet) legs. While the exo-skeleton itself weighs about 53 pounds, it also manages to transfer its own weight so the user hardly notices the exo-suit is there. The suit is also tauted as having a wide range of natural movements, managed by an inboard computer that mirrors every movement of the wearer. This means that soldiers can run, jump, and crawl without being restricted by the exo-skeleton. HULC allows for the soldier to move heavy loads across rugged terrain without breaking so much as a sweat, hence the name ‘HULC’ (Hulk). We don’t know if this name was intentional, but the similarities are striking. Perhaps we can get some adamantium claws and regenerative shields too while we’re at it, Lockheed?
Check out a video after the break.
MIT has found a way to lighten the burden for those in the military, at least physically. The Exoskeleton Leg Rack can take 80% of an 80 lb. load off its wearer although it will affect his/her normal walking pattern. Hugh Herr, principal investigator of the Biomechatronics Group, hopes that the device will allow soldiers to hustle without running out of breath and to carry heavier packs. He believes that about 20 years from now people will be buying leg racks instead of bike racks. We love when scientists do research for the military, knowing that eventually it will trickle down to those of us in the civilian sector, even if it takes another 20 years.
Read More | MIT