US military reveals plans to hack soldiers' brains for superhuman capabilities

The United States military is exploring ways of hacking the human brain to enhance soldiers' cognitive abilities.
By Alex Bourque | Apr 30, 2017
The United States military is exploring ways of hacking the human brain to enhance soldiers' cognitive abilities.

DARPA is funding eight separate research projects to find out if electrical stimulation can safely be utilized to "enhance learning and accelerate training skills."

If successful, this could allow an individual to quickly master complex skills that would normally take thousands of hours of training.

Called the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program, the initiative aims to use the body's peripheral nervous system to speed up the learning process.

The aim would be achieved by activating a process called 'synaptic plasticity' a core process in the brain involved in learning with electrical stimulation.

The program was first revealed last year, and now, the research branch will fund eight initiatives at seven institutions to understand how this could be achieved.

"DARPA is approaching the study of synaptic plasticity from multiple angles to determine whether there are safe and responsible ways to enhance learning and accelerate training for skills relevant to national security missions," said Doug Weber, TNT program manager.

Scientists are trying to identify the mechanisms that could make the brain more 'adaptive' during the process of learning when processed.

If they succeed, the process, for example, could be used to accelerate the process of learning foreign languages.

After getting awarded a contract worth approximately $5.8 billion by DARPA, a team of researchers at the University of Texas' Biomedical Device Center are studying this effect.

Some teams will work alongside intelligence analysts and foreign language specialists to formulate the platform around current training methods.

Teams at Arizona State University, John Hopkins University, the University of Florida, the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, and Wright State University were also awarded contracts.

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