DARPA's ElectRx Program: Micro Devices To Make Self-Healing Soldiers

DARPA, often in the public eye due to its extensive robotics efforts, has turned its sights towards the human body with its ElectRx program. Standing for Electrical Prescriptions, ElectRx is an effort to create what amounts to self-healing soldiers using a "closed-loop system."

This system, says DARPA's program manager, "would work in concept like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker." With it, one's own body would be monitored and stimulated in tailored, shifting manners to promote its own healing, rather than resorting to medications.

The new technologies made under the ElectRx program would be minimally invasive, but have a big impact on the health of soldiers and others. Both health maintenance and restoration are goals, and conditions like arthritis and autoimmune issues are among those listed as potentially treatable.

In time, ElectRx could be used for things like treating PTSD and other mental conditions, as well. What kind of technologies is DARPA looking at for its program? Biosensors and implantable devices are among those included — and they'll need to be small enough to inject with a needle, says DARPA.