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by Rich Trenholm  @rich_trenholm

US military research agency DARPA forsees a tiny implant that could restore sight loss or give you a heads-up display without a helmet or glasses.

With just a bit of dabbling in your DNA, scientists could plug a heads-up display directly into your brain.
Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock
Forget HoloLens, forget smart glasses and forget augmented reality — scientists have proposed a “cortical modem” that plugs into your DNA and your visual cortex to cure sight loss and show a heads-up display in front of your very eyes.

The cortical modem concept is the brainchild of DARPA, the US Defense Research Projects Agency. Originally founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, DARPA is the US military’s research and development agency. It’s perhaps best known outside of military circles for the development of ARPANET, an early packet switching network that formed a precursor to the Internet.

The cortical modem concept was presented by DARPA’s Phillip Alvelda at a recent pow-wow in Silicon Valley, at which innovators, investors and other big brains were introduced to the agency’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO), a blue-sky-thinking initiative announced last year.

During the event, transhumanist publication H+ reports that DARPA was described onstage as a “friendly, but somewhat crazy, rich uncle”.

That crazy, rich — or crazy rich — uncle foresees the device providing a heads-up display or augmented reality projection appearing in your natural vision with no helmet or smart glasses or anything at all in front of your eyes. Like the Terminator. Or Robocop. Or something less shoot-y.

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