Teams will develop and test implantable therapeutic devices for memory restoration in patients with memory deficits caused by disease or trauma
DARPA has selected two universities to initially lead the agency’s Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program, which aims to develop and test wireless, implantable “neuroprosthetics” that can help servicemembers, veterans, and others overcome memory deficits incurred as a result of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or disease.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) will each head a multidisciplinary team to develop and test electronic interfaces that can sense memory deficits caused by injury and attempt to restore normal function. Under the terms of separate cooperative agreements with DARPA, UCLA will receive up to $15 million and Penn will receive up to $22.5 million over four years, with full funding contingent on the performer teams successfully meeting a series of technical milestones. DARPA also has a cooperative agreement worth up to $2.5 million in place with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to develop an implantable neural device for the UCLA-led effort.
“The start of the Restoring Active Memory program marks an exciting opportunity to reveal many new aspects of human memory and learn about the brain in ways that were never before possible,” said DARPA Program Manager Justin Sanchez. “Anyone who has witnessed the effects of memory loss in another person knows its toll and how few options are available to treat it. We’re going to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in RAM to develop new options for treatment through technology.”