President Obama announced the BRAIN initiative in April 2013. Today, the initiative is supported by several federal agencies as well as dozens of technology firms, academic institutions, scientists and other key contributors to the field of neuroscience. DARPA is supporting the BRAIN initiative through a number of programs.
Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx)
The ElectRx program aims to help the human body heal itself through neuromodulation of organ functions using ultraminiaturized devices, approximately the size of individual nerve fibers, which could be delivered through minimally invasive injection.
- ElectRx Has the Nerve to Envision Revolutionary Therapies for Self-Healing
- President Obama Highlights New DARPA Program Aimed at Developing Novel Therapies Customized to Individual Patients
Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX)
The HAPTIX program aims to create fully implantable, modular and reconfigurable neural-interface microsystems that communicate wirelessly with external modules, such as a prosthesis interface link, to deliver naturalistic sensations to amputees.
- HAPTIX Starts Work to Provide Prosthetic Hands with Sense of Touch
- By Restoring Sense of Touch to Amputees, HAPTIX Seeks to Overcome Physical and Psychological Effects of Upper Limb Loss
Neuro Function, Activity, Structure and Technology (Neuro-FAST)
The Neuro-FAST program seeks to enable unprecedented visualization and decoding of brain activity to better characterize and mitigate threats to the human brain, as well as facilitate development of brain-in-the loop systems to accelerate and improve functional behaviors. The program has developed CLARITY, a revolutionary tissue-preservation method, and builds off recent discoveries in genetics, optical recordings and brain-computer interfaces.
Preventing Violent Explosive Neurologic Trauma (PREVENT)
The PREVENT program is comprehensively evaluating the physics of the interaction between explosive blasts and the brain and has identified which blast components are associated with neurologic injury. The program also seeks to develop test systems and predictive models that characterize blast exposure to optimize treatment paradigms, explosive blast mitigation and protective strategies.
Restoring Active Memory (RAM)
The RAM program aims to develop and test a wireless, fully implantable neural-interface medical device for human clinical use. The device would facilitate the formation of new memories and retrieval of existing ones in individuals who have lost these capacities as a result of traumatic brain injury or neurological disease.
Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET)
The RE-NET program seeks to develop the technologies needed to reliably extract information from the nervous system, and to do so at a scale and rate necessary to control complex machines, such as high-performance prosthetic limbs.
The Revolutionizing Prosthetics program aims to continue increasing functionality of DARPA-developed arm systems to benefit Service members and others who have lost upper limbs. The dexterous hand capabilities developed under the program have already been applied to small robotic systems used to manipulate unexploded ordnance, reducing the risk of limb loss among Soldiers.
Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS)
The SUBNETS program seeks to create implanted, closed-loop diagnostic and therapeutic systems for treating neuropsychological illnesses.