The first cyborg mouse is American, and it can see in the dark. In 2019, a team from the University of Arizona announced that it had injected nanoparticles into the eyes of several rats that “converted” visible light into infrared (invisible) light.
Attached to the photoreceptor cells of the eye, these nanoparticles allow rats to see in the dark while maintaining their normal vision. The next step is the development of organic nanoparticles compatible with the physiology of the human eye.
This impressive innovation perfectly illustrates the type of research currently conducted by laboratories in the service of the armed forces. In recent decades, they’ve developed tools that seem straightforward from Hollywood blockbusters: vibrating belts for silent communication, visual systems through walls, exoskeleton, trellis capable of treating injuries, and more. However, in the midst of this technological confusion, there is a weak point: man, too fragile and too slow. The purpose is therefore to stimulate the physical and cognitive faculty of the fighter.
There is nothing really new here. This search began extensively at the beginning of World War II. Germany gave its pilots and tankers pervitin or “Gorings Pill”. This increased their alertness and their immunity and forced them to forget their hunger and sleep. For the Americans and Englishmen, they distributed a handful of small tablets of benzedine, a home-made amphetamine. Today, for long missions in the field, American soldiers can still receive stimulant “go-pills” with medical approval. If the French military claims to give its pilots only caffeine pills, it tested it on a thousand soldiers in 1991, modafinil, an anti-sleep psychostimulant that eliminates the risk of amphetamine addiction.
But these drugs only temporarily cover the underlying weaknesses of the human physiology. From now on, we want to teach the body to react differently. A medical research institute of the American army has invented an electric heating band to be fitted to the arm. The experiments were final: when a room was cooled to 0 সেল C, it gave people who wore it 50% more efficiency and 90% more strength in the fingers. This small technology warms the peripheral blood and prevents the normal flow of blood vessels in the hand at low temperatures.
A “hack” is a far cry from what some foreign armies, especially Russians or Chinese, are doing, such as eye surgery to increase vision. In his December 2016 speech at the Digital Defense Innovation Forum on “Ethics and Enhanced Soldiers”, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parley made it clear: “So-called offensive developments are not on the French military’s agenda. But we must be clear … The nanoparticles tested on rats will respect the ethical limits set by the minister: the process could be reversed because they disappear spontaneously after about ten weeks. , They will develop gene therapies that increase or inhibit the production of certain hormones to make them more combative, stronger troops, resistant to cold, pain, stress and hunger. During a speech in October 2017, President Vladimir Putin described such a “genetically modified” Announced the arrival of a soldier who could “fight without fear, without sympathy, without remorse or pain.” Be calm “.
Six technologies in the box
On August 28, 2020, Elon Musk, billionaire founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, unveiled a chip made by his start-up Neurallink. For the purpose of implantation in the brain, it is primarily necessary to treat neurological diseases. But Elon Musk plans to use it to connect to a computer or control a machine via Bluetooth. The chip can help develop direct brain-to-brain communication.
A screen in a contact lens
California start-up Mojo Vision has created an augmented reality contact lens. Its 70,000-pixel mini-screen is transparent, so wearers can see a variety of information displayed in the normal case of their vision. The soldier thus sees his enemies appear in different colors.
A network of chips implanted throughout the body can stimulate nerves directly through light pulses. The muscles will automatically be controlled by an artificial intelligence that will improve the performance of soldiers and avoid dangers, for example enemy fire.
Monitor the wristband
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created an electronic skin that is designed to deform the skin with elasticity. Made with a thin layer of plastic a few microns thick, this patch is water soluble and is applied to the skin like a decal. Equipped with sensors, it monitors the wearer’s physiological constant; Electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram, temperature, etc. that it sends to the control center. This electronic skin will have antennas, even mini-solar cells, which can be included in the patch.
Nanorobots have been talked about for a long time, which can be inserted into the human body to heal from within; They finally exist. Developed in 2020, they are equipped with approximately 40 × 50 microns, 5 microns thick (a hair 75 microns in diameter) and four legs and aquaters. These can be controlled and used as micro-surgical instruments, for example to heal a wound.
Gene therapy will change a soldier’s DNA to optimize his mind in battle. Her brain can thus stimulate endorphin production to reduce pain. A surplus of adrenaline will prepare the body for battle. Conversely, the brain may reduce the production of the sympathetic hormone oxytocin to increase its aggression.
For the future
> At the human borderAt the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, until May 30, 2022. A stimulus to the transformations that our body can feel.