Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering is a quarterly journal, founded in 1981, devoted to publishing the results of original, innovative and creative research investigations in the field of Biocybernetics and biomedical engineering, which bridges mathematical, physical, chemical and engineering methods and technology to analyse physiological processes in living organisms as well as to develop methods, devices and systems used in biology and medicine, mainly in medical diagnosis, monitoring systems and therapy. The Journal’s mission is to advance scientific discovery into new or improved standards of care, and promotion a wide-ranging exchange between science and its application to humans. Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering encourages contributions on all aspects of research and developments in: biosystems, including biomedical modeling; cell and tissue engineering for repair medicine; biomeasurements, including biosignal processing and biosensing systems; artificial and hybrid (bioartificial) organs; biomaterials; biomechanics and rehabilitation, including orthopedics and sports medicine; medical information systems and neuronal networks; information and communication technologies in medicine, including brain-computer interfaces; medical imaging, including brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); bioinformatics, including genome analysis; and medical physics.
The journal welcomes original research articles, reviews and short communications.
Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering (BBE) is the official journal of the Nalecz Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
research activities of the Institute are focused on 4 main areas: (1) biomeasurements, computer data processing and analysis for improvement of medical diagnosis and therapy, (2) support and substitution of lost functions of the organism, (3) techniques of micro- and nanoencapsulation and (4) mathematical/physical modelling and computer simulations of selected physiological processes and organs functions. All these fields are related to following sub-disciplines: biomeasurements, biomechanics, artificial organs, biomaterials, bioinformatics, medical informatics, biomedical imaging and biosystems modelling (nervous system, blood circulation systems, respiratory system, muscles function, etc.). Scientific activity of the Institute is carried out in close collaboration with multiple clinical partners (Warsaw Medical University, Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, Military Institute of Medicine, Military Institute of Aviation Medicine). This calloboration allows for testing and validation of the innovative, biomedical technologies in clinical environment.
DARPA’s initial investments in BCI began in 1974 under the Close-Coupled Man/Machine Systems (later renamed Biocybernetics) program. This program investigated the application of human physiological signals, including brain signals as measured non-invasively using either EEG or magnetoencephalography (MEG), to enable direct communication between humans and machines and to monitor neural states associated with vigilance, fatigue, emotions, decision-making, perception, and general cognitive ability.
DARPA is embracing the goal of access to space with unprecedented ease, versatility, scale, and affordability. “I want to build simple, very cheap things that I can mass produce,” said Kennedy. “And I think we can do that because now we have the commercial vendors – SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat, Boeing, Samsung – who are off and running trying to figure out how to do mass production of small satellites. I think the commercial sector is actually going to get out in front of us on this one, and show us how to do the Model T of spacecraft. What we need to do is figure out how to build a good enough payload that we can mount on a good enough [satellite] bus and go do the missions that we do today.”
Blackjack. This program is designed to develop space technologies that demonstrate an extensive smallsat constellation in low Earth orbit (LEO). Blackjack, said Krassner of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, “is designed to take advantage of the emerging commercial LEO constellations. The question is: Can the military adopt these commodity buses to put military payloads on them and operate them as a distributed network? The advantage would include cost savings from using these commoditized buses. They would also provide resilience, since everything we now put on a big platform we could have instead in a distributed architecture. There would be many more targets an adversary would have to eliminate. Systems coming out of a successful Blackjack would provide the opportunity to refresh and update technology on a much more frequent basis. We think this is a potential disruptive architecture concept for national security space.” Added Kennedy, “Blackjack gets us to a different world where we are no longer risk-averse. If we can get the payload community to come along so that they understand they will have to produce mass-reproducible systems, I think we will have entered a new era. Rather than biting our nails every time we are sitting there for launch, we should be saying, ‘I can handle losing six of 12 or 15 of these. I’ll just build and launch a few more.’”
Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS). Building on the success of Orbital Express, DARPA is pursuing technologies for servicing spacecraft in geosynchronous (GEO) orbits through a mix of highly automated and remotely operated (from Earth) robotic systems.
Experimental Spaceplane (XSP) Program. The U.S. aerospace community previously has undertaken expensive and unsuccessful efforts to develop a spaceplane that can be essentially launched on demand to LEO. Now, DARPA leadership judges that the relevant technologies have matured sufficiently to try again. Said Krassner: “It might launch vertically, it might launch horizontally. It does whatever it is supposed to do in space, deploys a satellite or whatever, and then comes back and lands at an airport like an airplane and gets refurbished just like an airplane at the gate.” The program’s goal is to design an X-Plane capable of 10 flights in 10 days and that can be transitioned to the Air Force, Navy, and commercial sector.
Hallmark. This battle management tool is designed to provide U.S. senior leadership the ability to effectively manage space assets in real time. “Think about a control center where the general is in charge and he gets all this space situational awareness data, but he has no real way to make heads or tails of it,” said Krassner. “The Hallmark program will provide visualization tools and decision support tools to help him make informed decisions based on the various data sources that he has available.”
<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-49558″ class=”size-large wp-image-49558″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/www.defensemedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DARPA-Hallmark-web.jpg?resize=550%2C320″ alt=”DARPA Hallmark web” width=”550″ height=”320″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/www.defensemedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DARPA-Hallmark-web.jpg?resize=550%2C320&ssl=1 550w, https://i1.wp.com/www.defensemedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DARPA-Hallmark-web.jpg?resize=350%2C203&ssl=1 350w, https://i1.wp.com/www.defensemedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DARPA-Hallmark-web.jpg?resize=768%2C446&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.defensemedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DARPA-Hallmark-web.jpg?resize=720%2C418&ssl=1 720w, https://i1.wp.com/www.defensemedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DARPA-Hallmark-web.jpg?w=1024&ssl=1 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />
DARPA’s Hallmark program aims to provide U.S. senior leadership the ability to manage U.S. space assets in real time, as this artist’s depiction might suggest. DARPA image
Radar Net. This program is developing lightweight, low-power, wideband capability for radio frequency (RF) communications and remote sensing for a space-based platform. “A number of organizations including commercial ones are developing synthetic aperture radar satellites” that could provide a basis for the goals of Radar Net, noted Krassner. “The question is, since synthetic aperture radar has so many applications and benefits, is there a way we can leverage advanced technologies to provide a large synthetic aperture radar in a small package, and use a small launch vehicle to launch a small payload, which is much cheaper.”
Planar Imager. This program involves space-based electro-optical sensors for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to replace conventional telescopes. “If you look at things like the Hubble Space Telescope, a large fraction of the weight of the telescope is in the mirror,” explained Krassner. “And of course, in space, weight and size translate into cost, launch vehicle constraints, etc. If we can take the mirror out and replace it with, in effect, a flat plastic component that might be meters across but very thin, and it doesn’t take years to grind [like a conventional telescope mirror], we would be able to put up a much larger telescope at a much quicker pace at much less cost. That combination is potentially disruptive. So, the question is whether the technology in advanced materials can support these objectives.”
OF STARSHIPS AND BIG DREAMS
Because of DARPA’s penchant to dream big, not all of its concepts have come to fruition. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, for example, ARPA funded Project Orion, an audacious concept to develop an interplanetary spacecraft propelled by a series of nuclear bomb explosions, which never got off the ground due to concerns about fallout from its propulsion. And in 2011, DARPA joined with NASA’s Ames Research Center to provide grant funding for researchers to create a business plan that can last 100 years to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel. The one-year project resulted in a private organization under the same name that is now attempting to carry on this work.
“DARPA is the right place to try things, because we move fast, we do not have lifetime programs, and we are very cognizant as we start things about who might be a transition partner. Space is on the upswing here.”
“Technology moves fast,” said Krassner. “It’s not a bad thing for DARPA to be looking at the long term … And where we might be thinking in a Wall Street quarter-to-quarter basis, every now and then it’s good to step away and take a long view that helps get you some out-of-the-box thinking. And that’s what we are all about: Out-of-the-box thinking, disruption, and speed.”
“DARPA is refocusing on space,” Krassner noted. “The pendulum has swung over the years as to how much we are doing in space, and we now are ratcheting up our space investments as a result of advanced technology opportunities and the growing importance of space for military and civilian applications. DARPA is the right place to try things, because we move fast, we do not have lifetime programs, and we are very cognizant as we start things about who might be a transition partner. Space is on the upswing here.”
“The future of space at DARPA is looking bright over the next 20 years, because we are about to upend the space status quo entirely,” added Kennedy. “We are going to do that by taking away all the incentivization that currently exists for risk aversion. We are going to change the architecture. We are going to change all the assumptions on which we base our space capabilities. We are going to flip it on its head. The big win is culture change, and if we can affect that throughout all the systems we build, everything will be different. We are in the midst of some major upheavals that are going to change everything.”
1. In 1972, ARPA would become DARPA when it added a D (for Defense) to its name.
2. Brown, Owen, Kennedy, Fred and Pulliam, Wade, “DARPA’s Space History.”