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DOD Wants 'Living Clothes' and 'Brain Machines'

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By Allan Holmes April 26, 2007

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The Defense Department is always on the look out for cutting-edge technologies, which can make perusing defense agencies' daily requests for proposals and information an exercise in suspending disbelief.

The latest such request comes from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which recently issued a so-called Broad Agency Announcement requesting information on advanced technologies that could be used to detect and neutralize Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

According to an article posted by Global Security Newswire (a sister publication of Tech Insider and Government Executive Magazine), the agency listed several WMD countermeasures it wants to investigate over the next year. For example,

One item on the list is biomimetic material, which could be used for so-called “living” clothes.

Merging research in the life sciences, chemistry, physics and advanced materials, DTRA officials hope to end up with fabrics that could mimic living processes, including an immune response.

The material would continually check the environment, “possibly give some sort of warning indication” and then release a counteragent, according to the document.

The agency also wants to find out if industry can develop a so-called “brain-machine interface,” which would "detect and neutralize a toxic threat and immediately alert soldiers and commanders to their presence," according to Global Security Newswire. No other details were given.

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