DARPA Is Making a Travel Adapter That Will Be Implanted in Soldiers’ Bodies


The device will offer soldiers control over their own physiology.

Soldiers are often needed to travel abroad to unhygienic places. As such, their bodies undergo the consequences of these long and agonizing travels.

Soldiers often suffer from jet lag, and diarrhea, among other health conditions related to travel to risky places. And, as a result, they can end up feeling tired or even ill.

An implantable device

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aka DARPA is looking for to correct that through an implantable device.

“By advances in synthetic biology and medical devices, DARPA’s new Advanced Acclimation and Protection Tool for Environmental Readiness (ADAPTER) program plans to develop a travel adapter for the human body, an implantable or ingestible bioelectronic carrier that can offer warfighters control over their own physiology. The united system will be developed to entrain the sleep cycle – either to a new time zone or return to a normal sleep routine after night missions – and remove bacteria that cause traveler’s diarrhea after ingestion of polluted food and water,” reads a DARPA statement on the new device.

The tool could certainly come in very handy as DARPA reports that data from 2003 to 2004 revealed that 2/5ths of diarrhea cases among soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq required medical attention. No statistics were provided on soldiers’ sleeping patterns, but it is not hard to envision that both travel and war are bound to disrupt sleep.

“The aim of the ADAPTER program is to create the therapies within the body itself. ADAPTER will manage a warfighter’s circadian rhythm, halving the time to re-establish normal sleep after a disturbance such as shift lag or jet lag. It will also give safe food and water by eliminating in vivo the top five bacterial sources of traveler’s diarrhea. Both will improve the mobility and health of warfighters,” said Paul Sheehan, Ph.D., program manager for the DARPA ADAPTER program.


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