DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECT AGENCY (DARPA) and the Brain Initiative
The White House announced the BRAIN initiative in April 2013. Today, the initiative is supported by several federal agencies as well as dozens of technology firms, academic institutions, scientists and other key contributors to the field of neuroscience. DARPA is supporting the BRAIN initiative through a number of programs, continuing a legacy of DARPA investment in neurotechnology that extends back to the 1970s. An article in our 60th anniversary magazine provides an overview of the agency’s recent research aimed at expanding the frontiers of the field and enabling powerful, new capabilities.
The ElectRx program aims to help the human body heal itself through neuromodulation of organ functions using ultraminiaturized devices, approximately the size of individual nerve fibers, which could be delivered through minimally invasive injection.
The HAPTIX program aims to create fully implantable, modular and reconfigurable neural-interface microsystems that communicate wirelessly with external modules, such as a prosthesis interface link, to deliver naturalistic sensations to amputees.
The NESD program aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide unprecedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the brain and the digital world.
The Neuro-FAST program seeks to enable unprecedented visualization and decoding of brain activity to better characterize and mitigate threats to the human brain, as well as facilitate development of brain-in-the loop systems to accelerate and improve functional behaviors. The program has developed CLARITY, a revolutionary tissue-preservation method, and builds off recent discoveries in genetics, optical recordings and brain-computer interfaces.