The federal government has reached contract agreements with six entities, five research groups and a company for the Neural Engineering System Design program designed to merge human brains with computers, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The Biological Technologies Office announced this week that the contracts – with Brown University, Columbia, the Seeing and Hearing Foundation, John B. Pierce Lab, Paradromics and Cal-Berkeley – focus on the next stage of a strategy to blend the human brain with hard drives and memory chips.
Justin Sanchez, director of the Biological Technologies office for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said the organization has been pioneering “brain-machine interface technologies since the 1970s.”
Since the 2000s, when doors started opening for new capabilities, the agency has “invested hundreds of millions of dollars transitioning ‘neuroscience’ into ‘neurotechnology’ with a series of cumulatively more advanced research programs that expand the frontiers of what is possible in this enormously difficult domain.”
Sanchez said: “We’ve laid the groundwork for a future in which advanced brain interface technologies will transform how people live and work, and the agency will continue to operate at the forward edge of this space to understand how national security might be affected as new players and even more powerful technologies emerge.”
The current contracts seek “a high-resolution neural interface” that can be integrated into systems “able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration.”
That means making the blind to see and the deaf to hear.
“Four of the teams will focus on vision and two will focus on aspects of hearing and speech,” the agency’s report said.
The aim is to create “an implantable system” that provides “precision communication between the brain and the digital world.”