spinal nanotech project by DARPA

Many new technologies worked on and invented by factions like DARPA , initially aim to remove a soldier from the war zone and operate remotely. Some of these tech's are using bio-chip technologies .,essentially chip tech that intergrates with biology. While the projects and theory's of further application appear to be useful for military application. The US military are also looking into such technology for the soldier in the physical war zone ,. This is where DARPA have taken things inline with implant & bio chip tech in a direction we havent written about till now.

A spinal cord injury often disrupts the connection between the brain and body, in a war zone a loss of physiological function to the wounded war-fighter In addition to paralysis may result in death due to the obvious inability to defend themselves, . We have found news that DARPA have a program called 'Bridging the Gap' Or BG+,This project is said to be $6.3 million in DARPA funding,the project combines as a neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, and biological sensors, this opens the possibility of overcoming the worst effects of spinal cord injuries by promoting healing at the wound site and interfacing with the nervous system at points around the body to restore natural functions such as breathing, bowel and bladder control, movement, touch, and proprioception that can be lost when the spinal cord is damaged.

to quote Dr. Al Emondi, who is the apparent appointed manager of this DARPA program

“In recent years, DARPA has made remarkable progress in demonstrating the potential of direct and indirect neural interfaces to help individuals with injuries and illness,”

“No two injuries are the same, however, and so we are embracing the opportunity provided by evolving technology to pursue new intelligent and adaptive interfaces that specifically address spinal cord injury. DARPA’s goal is to provide active warfighters and veterans with alternatives for overcoming one of war’s worst injuries.”

BG aims to make use of two research thrusts aimed at developing and integrating technologies for injury stabilization, regenerative therapy, and functional restoration . the main focus is on improving healing during the acute and sub-acute phases of injury, and on restoring lost function in the chronic phase of injury. the project makes claims that the acute phase of injury can be considered as the two days immediately following injury .

They have said that the first research thrust encompasses development of a range of novel regenerative medicine technologies that are both amenable to implantation in a stateside civilian trauma hospital as well as a down-range combat hospital. .

Emondi says “Whereas with regular wounds, tissue heals in a relatively predictable manner, in spinal cord injuries the healing process is more complex,” “Physicians have very little information about what actually goes on in real time at the injury site. DARPA aims to change that using bioelectronic interfaces that measure biomarkers directly related to the injury. Once we know what’s taking place at the spinal cord from moment to moment, we think it will be possible to deliver intelligent interventions that optimize our ability to preserve and reinforce neural communications during the acute phase of spinal cord injury.”

The second research thrust includes development of networked interface devices that communicate with the nervous system and relevant end organs to restore physiological function. DARPA is especially interested in recovering voluntary and involuntary nervous system functions such as bladder control and respiration. In addition to restoring control functions, the researchers are also developing technologies to return sensory feedback to the users of BG+ systems to enable more natural function.

DARPA created BG+ as a five-year program, scheduled to conclude with clinical demonstrations in human patients.

“DARPA’s metrics for success for BG+ are mitigating the early effects of spinal cord injury, improving awareness and interactive therapies at the injury site to preserve neural function, and restoring multiple physiological functions,” said Emondi. “By the end of the program, we hope to deliver technologies that adapt to changes in the injury profile over time, inform new standards of care, minimize secondary complications, and address the long-term dysfunctions that can remain for years after spinal cord injury.”

At the time of writing DARPA will host a meeting for potential proposers in November 5-6, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia, to provide more information. Registration instructions are available at https://go.usa.gov/xVSEF. A forthcoming Broad Agency Announcement will include full program details.

For further related research DARPA has begun funding Brown University to develop a direct spinal cord interface that marries implanted electrodes with machine learning to potentially restore lower-limb motor and sensory control and proprioception to individuals living with paraplegia. This planned two-year study is led by Dr. David Borton and stemming from a proposal in response to BTO’s (BIOLOGICAL TECHNOLOGIES OFFICE)office-wide broad agency announcement —It involves the development of high-density electrodes that wrap around the spinal cord and are capable of recording and stimulation. The team will also attempt to create novel algorithms that mimic natural processes in the spinal cord.

DARPA has scheduled in-patient demonstrations at the end of each year of the Brown study to demonstrate proof of concept. At the end of the first year, the researchers will work with volunteers living with paraplegia to test a percutaneous interface system with the goal of restoring movement and sensation. By the end of the second year, the researchers plan to test a fully implanted system.

For more information on Brown’s “Bridging the Gap” study, visit: https://www.brown.edu/news/2019-10-03/isi.

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