Are you a fan of Bruce Banner from Hulk or Steve Rogers from Captain America? Have you ever wondered how Jason Bourne became an elite spy simply by using programs? Well, we bet you know that he enhanced human capabilities through operation Treadstone to create ‘Super Soldiers.’ DARPA is turning this thrilling imagination into a reality. Continue reading to see how!
Learning foreign languages, tactical skills, and weaponry is essential to excel in the military, and it can be learned over time with training. However, the US Department of Defense intends to lessen that period to master these skills. The exploration of possibility will take four years, and it will be funded by Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). It would cost an estimated US $50 million. The objective here is to find ways where electrical neurostimulation would assist soldiers to learn tactical skills and languages fast, possibly with merely a zap to the neck.
The program called Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) is managed by Doug Weber, a bioengineer. As the name suggests, the technology will focus on creating new neural connections to compensate for an injury, a disease, or how they react to new information in the changing environment. Simply-put, learn and create a memory, and in some cases, heal it. The target is to discover methods to activate synaptic plasticity, the process of altering a synapse and its learning experience. For details, a synapse is a joint between nerve cells that diffuses impulses from a neurotransmitter.
The target is at least 30% improvement in the rate of learning. The eight teams deployed in the program predict that changes can range from the attention span, performance, and response to changing environments, how awake the soldier is, and how much information can be processed by the brain. The team at Arizona State University is investigating the effects on functions like surveillance, marksmanship related skills, and reconnaissance, the team at John Hopkins University is examining language learning prospects, and the team at the University of Florida will inspect the effects on Vague Nerve. The Vague nerve connects the gut with the brain and is inadequately understood up till now. TNT would be improving cognition, not only in soldiers but individuals with learning disabilities and memory disorders while enhancing the abilities of individuals who are willing to become super soldiers.
“DARPA’s goal with TNT is, to further enhance the most effective existing training methods so the men and women of our Armed Forces can operate at their full potential.” Says Doug Weber.
Who said you can’t become a superhuman ever? Yes, you can!