Soldier On With ElectRX

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By Sean Coughlin

A soldier can go through so much during their tour throughout a chaotic warzone, coming to effects such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) arthritis, epilepsy and minor wounds. These symptoms and issues can be possibly be removed with the new and currently a work-in-progress neuro-technology being developed by DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency)

Will this help our troops stay strong in a time of war?

The US military’s $80m (£48m) ElectRX research programme is devising minimally invasive neuro-technologies to treat a range of conditions from wounds and arthritis, to post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy. Sky News spoke to the project manager Doug Weber, from the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), said the chips “would continually assess conditions and provide stimulus patterns tailored to help maintain healthy organ function”. No surgery to be needed for a neuro device but to place the device in surgery is needed.

The main goal of the program, which is dubbed ElectRX, is the development of tiny chips that can be injected into soldiers with a simple needle to act as pacemakers for the nervous system. With these tiny chips inserted into the blood stream and path finding to the nerve ending, the chips will be precisely stimulating the right nerve endings with minute electromagnetic signals, the implants will possibly treat painful illnesses and chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and mental illnesses, researchers say.

What’s more, a joint fact sheet has been released by the Department of Defence and the Veteran’s Association revealed that DARPA scored a cool 78 million dollars to build the chips as part of the US government’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neuro-technologies (BRAIN) program.

The current devices can be around the size of a cigarette packet and require invasive surgery to be implanted, but the potential size of the ElectRX devices is what is unique. The ElectRX chips will be the size of nerve endings and could be injected relatively easily. The money comes from the White House’s Brain Initiative, which supports projects related to the understanding of neuropsychological illnesses. DARPA has been examining the possibilities of nano-sensors for diagnostics since at least 2012.

This technology is not new and still a major work in progress considering there might be problematic system issues when first introduced and doubt there would be a product recall. Although the sound of having tiny chips inserted into the body to counteract a mental or physical illness is kind of shocking and frightful it may help keep the soldiers from leading terrified lives or coming home injured, might even be the next step to the mythological super soldier idea.

Troops of many ages in the field face un-nerving problems this may help them take that fear and hurt away.This product is still in the unclear phase of when the chips could be designed and ready for use, but the idea has been presented and most likely funded.

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