US soldiers in MEDEVAC training

DARPA knows that soldiers need more than the latest gadgets to fight effectively -- they need to stay healthy, too. Accordingly, it just launched a Biological Technologies Office (BTO) to study how organics can help national defense. The division is working on projects that will keep troops in top shape, monitor large-scale biological patterns (such as viruses) and understand how natural processes can be put to work in both materials and machines. The agency doesn't yet know when the BTO will bear fruit, but it plans to minimize ethical concerns by speaking to academic experts on a regular basis.

[Image credit: Spc. Coltin Heller / DVIDS, Flickr]

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