New Obama plan calls for implanted computer chips to help U.S. troops heal

The project is headed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Pentagon agency that develops a variety of high-tech equipment for the U.S. military. It’s known as the Electrical Prescriptions program, or ElectRx (pronounced “electrics”). Program officials say the goal is to develop a technology that could help people heal more quickly through the use of biosensors and electromagnetic devices that control human organs.

“Instead of relying only on medication, we envision a closed-loop system that would work in concept like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker,” said Doug Weber, the program’s manager. “It would continually assess conditions and provide stimulus patterns tailored to help maintain healthy organ function, helping patients get healthy and stay healthy using their body’s own systems.”

Obama did not reference the new program directly in his speech Tuesday at the American Legion national convention in Charlotte, N.C. In a joint fact sheet released by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs, however, the agencies said DARPA will start a new $78.9 million, five-year research program “to develop new, minimally invasive neurotechnologies that will increase the ability of the body and brain to induce healing.” It’s part of the Obama administration’s larger “BRAIN Initiative,” which involves the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration, among other organizations.