A clear and growing national security need is protecting our military forces from biological warfare attacks and naturally emerging infectious diseases. Since the mid 1990s, DSO has pioneered advances across the full spectrum of biowarfare defense needs, including the development of advanced diagnostics (such as those used routinely for postal screening), decontamination (such as chlorine dioxide), and medical therapies that are active against an entire spectrum of infectious agents.
DSO's commitment to harnessing the biological sciences is evidenced by its growing portfolio of programs in human combat performance, tactical and restorative biomedical technologies, and biologically inspired platforms and systems. These focus areas emerged from an aggressive basic research program designed to understand fundamental processes in biology through promoting interactions among the most creative thinkers in biology with leaders in disparate fields such as physics, mathematics, and engineering.
Objectives: DSO is developing technologies that will radically transform battlefield medical care, including the development of mobile trauma stabilization capabilities through the integration of telerobotic and robotic medical systems, the discovery of new therapeutics for pain control and other battlefield indications, and novel techniques for the generation and storage of blood products.
Objectives: DSO has developed a suite of programs aimed at restoring full physical and cognitive function to injured warfighters, even after they have experienced significant traumatic injuries. Technologies are under investigation to fully restore complex tissues (muscle, nerves, skin, etc.) after traumatic injury and, most dramatically, to develop neural-controlled upper extremity prostheses that fully recapitulate the motor and sensory functions of a natural limb.
Objectives: DSO is developing technologies to allow our highly skilled and impeccably trained warfighters to maintain their peak physical and cognitive performance despite the harsh conditions of combat. Conditions that threaten peak performance include acute and chronic sleep deprivation, intake of inadequate quantity and quality of calories, heat and cold stress, muscle fatigue, and data overload.
Objectives: Nature has evolved truly remarkable capabilities that, if properly understood, would create significant new defense capabilities. DSO's efforts focus on understanding and emulating the unique locomotion and chemical, visual, and aural sensing capabilities of animals. Efforts include developing a highly efficient, human-powered swimming device that uses the same oscillating foil approach to swimming exhibited by many fish and aquatic birds, and understanding the precise transformations that occur throughout the visual pathways and elucidating the mechanisms for visual scene processing in the brain.