The Pentagon has developed terrifying new technology that could turn soldiers brains into remote controls.
DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), the science wing of the US military, is hard at work on a “neural interface” that allows users to send and receive mind data via machines.
For more practical purposes: soldiers could potentially pilot drones using only their thoughts. The phrase “synapses firing” can now be taken literally.
Successful tests have already been completed on animals – specifically sheep. They’ve been injected with paper clip-sized devices that travel through the blood vessels and lodges themselves in the brain to monitor neural activity.
For six months, the electrical brain impulses that control the animals’ movements were recorded to figure out exactly what makes livestock tick.
Called a “stentrode” – a combination of a stent tube and electrode – the device originated from neurologist Tom Oxley and his team at the University of Melbourne. It removes the need for hole-drilling head surgery, instead being administered through injection.
“By reducing the need for invasive surgery, the stentrode may pave the way for more practical implementations of those kinds of life-changing applications of brain-machine interfaces,” said DARPA’s Doug Weber in a statement.
Oxley told The Daily Beast that the procedure carried a risk of causing blood clots and strokes, but that will be minimised by injecting through veins instead of arteries.
“The field of stenting is rapidly progressing,” he said, noting that the new device is only a prototype.
After the livestock tests, DARPA claim that human stentrode trials could begin as early as 2017 at the Royal Melbourne – swiftly followed by military testing.
Recent estimates say that the drone industry is worth more than £280 billion – and with private sector contractors making a packet at the heart of military drone production, WarGames will soon be looking retrograde.