DARPA has been trying to crawl inside the minds of soldiers for a while now, but a new ultrasound technology could let them get deeper inside than ever. Working under a DARPA grant, a researcher at Arizona State is developing transcranial pulsed ultrasound technology that could be implanted in troops' battle helmets, allowing soldiers to manipulate brain functions to boost alertness, relieve stress, or even reduce the effects of traumatic brain injury.
Manipulating the brain to enhance warfighting capabilities and maintain mental acuity on the battlefield has long been a topic of interest for DARPA and various military research labs, but the technology to do so remains limited. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), for instance, requires surgically implanted electrodes to stimulate neural tissues, while less-invasive methods like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) possess limited reach and low spatial resolution.
But Dr. William J. Tyler, an assistant professor of life sciences at ASU, writes on the DoD's "Armed With Science" blog: "To overcome the above limitations, my laboratory has engineered a novel technology which implements transcranial pulsed ultrasound to remotely and directly stimulate brain circuits without requiring surgery. Further, we have shown this ultrasonic neuromodulation approach confers a spatial resolution approximately five times greater than TMS and can exert its effects upon subcortical brain circuits deep within the brain."
Tyler's technology, packaged in a warfighter's helmet, would allow soldiers to flip a switch to stimulate different regions of their brains, helping them relieve battle stress when it's time to get some rest, or to boost alertness during long periods without sleep. Grunts could even relieve pain from injuries or wounds without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs. More importantly, in the periods after brain trauma ultrasound technology could reduce swelling and metabolic damage that is often the root cause of lasting brain damage.
Oh Darpa, you must be run by a group of super nerds, who happen to be slightly sociopath-esk.
DARPA, if you want to turn people into robots you should probably start by making better robots and work less at dehumanizing people. Chances are you're gonna cause more brain damage then you'll prevent, not to mention the unwanted dependency soldiers might experience if they leave that thing on for too long. Taking off the soldier's helmet could be comparable to amputation if left on for too long. And what do you think would happen if the thing malfunctions in the middle of the field. Think before you act. Read "The Terminal Man" by Michael Crichton. It might give you some insight.
www.joesid.com - Where 3D meets Flash
Technically soldiers sign away almost all of their rights when entering the military, so I guess it is "legal" if you really want to stretch the word. But I can see this going horribly wrong. If the magnetic part of the device is in the helmet and then the helmet takes a bullet then it could have all sorts malfunctions that will in turn cause the brain to break.
If the soldiers have control over the devices and understand their functions, this could be a great tool for them. But if someone else is at the controls and the soldiers are ordered to receive treatment...
All the same, I would feel more comfortable with ultrasound or TMS than with drugs, since at least a machine has an off switch.
The article uses the words "transcranial" and "implanted" to refer to a helmet that makes sounds.
But yes, although it sounds like the soldiers have the ability to control these functions, it could be abused by command structures in ways that could become questionable or at least unfashionable.
I could see a small amount of satisfaction from the soldiers hacking it to aim it at the pleasure center of the brain. ...that is until they became so addicted that they pleasured themselves to starvation.
@thor0997 said "Technically soldiers sign away almost all of their rights when entering the military"
I was in the Military in the early 1980's. We were playing "war games" once and we were all in full chemical suits. The commanding officer call the enlisted people together and asked who was the lowest ranking individual.
A young kid came up and the officer told the guy that he was now part of “Operation Canary". Then he told him to remove his gas mask and take a deep breath.
The idea behind it was
1. We needed to know if there was gas around
2. If there was gas we could determine what kind by the reaction of the enlisted guy.
There was a medic there with stuff to counter gas exposure, but still that was messed up.
Vonnegut shouldn't of given them any ideas.
Technically, no, soldiers DON't give away their rights when they signup. They are under military law, which (in the USA) is entirely separate from civilian law, which is not to say you can't be convicted by local or federal law enforcement.
They don't have the right to refuse an order, no.
This tech is along the lines of the drugs they were developing for preventing PTSD before it occurs. They are REALLY trying to make veterans less expensive.
Seriously? Protecting soldiers from PTSD is a viciously self-serving cost-cutting measure on the part of the military? Are you *actually* implying that?
Yes, and why not? They give vaccinations, armor, and drones for the same reasons. Soldiers are expensive!
No. Soldiers do not sign away their rights. They assume a sacred National trust with grave, dangerous and demanding duties that demand selfless devotion to this Republic. We do not want robots. We want bright, thinking individuals who understand Commander's Intent, are able to react to the situations that occur on the battlefield to achieve the Commander's Intent when events do not develop as expected in the Op Order. Service Members maintain all the Rights afforded to any American under civil law and are protected also by rights afforded under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The protection of Rights is effectively doubled, not lessened.
Yes. The most junior person unmasks if no other option is available. The mission must be accomplished and a Commander must consider his assets and resources. This does not mean that any man is dispensable. None of them ever are. But a mission has to be accomplished. "Mission first, men always."
This idea is stupid, misguided and contrary to what it means to be a Soldier. It is a dangerous and sinister program wrapped in the colorful trappings of looking after the Soldier.
24 year Army Veteran; former Field Grade Commissioned Officer; VFW Life Member; Disabled American Veteran; member, Sons of the American Revolution; member, The Society of the War of 1812; member, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; member, Sons of Veterans of the Spanish American War; descendant of men who, at every generation since the Revolutionary War, have served in the Army; father of two Soldiers; uncle of a Soldier; uncle of a Sailor; brother of two Veterans; cousin of two combat Veterans.
You are so wrong, We do and did give up many rights and we were reminded constantly that we are Gubbernut property. You're long patriotic speech is touching but as soon as you became a Commissioned Officer you lost what little touch with reality you had. Also as a Commissioned Officer you have the right to refuse an unlawful order, Try doing that as an E-1 through E-4! You would have an Article 15 rammed up your but in the blink of an eye. You should try to remember your Oath to the Constitution for that is your true and only mission.
Cpl/E-4 63S Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
63RD ENG CO CSE
Don't be too hard on DARPA. After all their purpose is come up with this stuff before any other country/terrorist organization. They don't actually put anything in production. The come up with ideas and see if they actually work. We don't want to be caught off guard again like when the USSR sent up sputnik.
E1 - E5. Back to College before Commission.
As an EM, I was also compelled to disobey unlawful orders, just as I was as an Officer. It was not a "right". It was an obligation. Doing the right thing can ruin a career for both Os and Es. Os don't get Article 15s for standing against unlawful orders. They get General Officer Letters of Reprimand and disgraced separations. General Officers get publicly "retired".
You need to distinguish between unlawful orders and orders that are stupid, counterproductive, asinine or just irritating. The first you have an obligation to disobey, whatever the personal consequences.
Yes. Your Oath to protect the Constitution - the one that guarantees you your Rights, Corporal. I remember it well, Corporal. I stood by it for 24 years. I appreciate your sage instruction, but I'll keep my own counsel on this one.
Essayons! Ranger! Sapper! Airborne! Air Assault!
This mind control crap is not even a good idea to contemplate. Someone ought to get some reverse imprints of stars in their forehead from a General Officer worth a shyte for even bringing it up.
Try fighting the 'good fight' and actually 'winning wars' for a starter.
DARPA was working on a drug that would reduce a soldiers resistance to killing by suppressing their sense of morality.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that was among the planned uses for this device as well.
How about just not having so many wars? Maybe my species (combatus veteranus flatulentis) should go extinct.
If everyone could stop and listen, then maybe it will make sense:the idea is to protect lives. if they wanted robots, I'm pretty sure DARPA would have made them
Yup the movies Terminator, Matrix, say it all. Don't they always give a clue in movies of what they are planning to do in the future? People need to start paying attention. Corporal, don't ever let anyone tell you what to think. Americans have been letting people think for them for far too long and look where we've arrived. So far down the craphole, no freakin Roto Rooter may be able to get us out. Neo-cons will always be pro-war, but we need to be pro-homeland defense, empahsis...HOMELAND. In the meantime, we got crazy crap going on south of the border and or troops are wasting time in the Middle East. Our whole country is screwed up and needs fixing fast. Help this country out and vote for Liberty candidates this November...
At the top of this system you have very old families who've held on and acquired more and more power down through many centuries and they've declared they're at the top of the Darwinian tree and beneath them you have the scientific society that makes the weapons for them, including weapons that will eventually control the mind, and they plan to run the whole world as a planned - not just a planned parenthood society - a planned society where every country which will be subservient to a global government."