The state of the art in brain-system communications has employed invasive techniques that allow precise, high-quality connections to specific neurons or groups of neurons. These techniques have helped patients with brain injury and other illnesses. However, these techniques are not appropriate for able-bodied people. DARPA now seeks to achieve high levels of brain-system communications without surgery, in its new program, Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3).
“DARPA created N3 to pursue a path to a safe, portable neural interface system capable of reading from and writing to multiple points in the brain at once,” said Dr. Al Emondi, program manager in DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO). “High-resolution, nonsurgical neurotechnology has been elusive, but thanks to recent advances in biomedical engineering, neuroscience, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology, we now believe the goal is attainable.”