Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Medical Devices

Relating to non-pharmacologic interventions to diagnose, prevent or treat disease or injury

Showing 68 results for Med-Devices RSS
A DARPA-funded research team has demonstrated for the first time in a human a technology that allows an individual to experience the sensation of touch directly in the brain through a neural interface system connected to a robotic arm. By enabling two-way communication between brain and machine—outgoing signals for movement and inbound signals for sensation—the technology could ultimately support new ways for people to engage with each other and with the world.
Pressure—the physical quantity of an experience of touch—is a fundamental dimension of human perception, conveying to the brain not just that the skin is in contact with something, but also how intense the contact is. That awareness is what enables people to, for instance, gently but securely handle an egg without squeezing so hard that the shell cracks.
The holiday season is bringing high-tech offerings for U.S. war veterans this year in the form of sophisticated bionic arms developed under the direction of DARPA. In a ceremony today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Md., Justin Sanchez, Director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, delivered the first two advanced “LUKE” arms from a new production line—shiny evidence that the fast-track DARPA research effort has completed its transition into a commercial enterprise. As part of that transition process, DARPA is collaborating with WRNMMC to make the advanced prostheses available to service members and veterans who are rehabilitating after suffering upper-limb loss.
Each beat of your heart or burst of brain activity relies on tiny electrophysiological currents that generate minuscule ripples in the surrounding magnetic field. These field variations provide the basis for a range of research tools and diagnostic techniques with mouthful names like magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetocardiography (MCG). But tapping into biology’s faint magnetic fields requires heroic and costly measures, including high-tech shields to block the larger, potentially confounding magnetic forces all around us and boutique magnetic field sensors that require expensive and cumbersome liquid helium cooling.
In March 2016, DARPA announced the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program, an effort to enlist the body’s peripheral nervous system to achieve something that has long been considered the brain’s domain alone: facilitation of learning. Work on TNT has now begun. The crux of the wide-ranging program is to identify optimal and safe neurostimulation methods for activating “synaptic plasticity”—a natural process in the brain, pivotal to learning, that involves the strengthening or weakening of the junctions between two neurons—then build those methods into enhanced training regimens that accelerate the acquisition of cognitive skills.