Much of disease is simply how the body reacts to a foreign invader, so controlling that response while keeping the benefits is the focus of quite a bit of medical research. Among the ideas is “neuromodulation,” essentially manipulating nerves to reduce pain and help you heal faster. And DARPA wants to take it to the next level.
Being DARPA, they basically want to inject you with a tiny machine that controls your body’s pain and inflammation response:
Instead of relying only on medication—we envision a closed-loop system that would work in concept like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker. 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.
In other words, this thing goes into your body and starts taking charge. The implications go well beyond being able to limp away from jumping off a building or being stabbed by ninjas; properly done, this device could have implications in treating everything from epilepsy to inflammatory bowel disease. So really, we wouldn’t be Wolverine so much as Chris Traeger.
That said, currently it only exist in theory, and DARPA wants to cram all this into a form factor roughly the size of a nerve fiber. Hence, they’re looking for people who think they can make this happen, but it’s not clear whether, or how, that will actually be the case. So we’re probably going to have to wait a while for the Wolverine-like healing factor, but then again, who wouldn’t want a healing factor in middle age?
Via The Mary Sue