When you think of biotechnology, chances are you conjure up pharmaceutical companies or genetically-altered food. But when DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar recently took the floor before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on defense, mutant tomatoes weren't exactly on the docket. Instead, Director Prabhakar announced that biotechnology would soon surge into the military industrial complex, and that DARPA would be at the crest of that wave.
DAPRA has just announced that it will be opening a new biological technologies office. This office will take over a number of already-existing DARPA projects which fall under the biotech blanket, as well as developing the concept of "biology as technology." Living foundries made of bacteria will be created, capable of producing new types of biotech materials for mechanical, optical, and electrical equipment. New prosthetic limbs will be developed, connected directly to your brain in order to give you mental control over them and to feel what they touch.
The office will also focus on rapidly assessing new biological weapons that out troops encounter in the field. In as little as 30 days, DARPA aims to be able to fully understand any new bio-weapon being used on the battlefield — a process which can currently take decades. This same office could also be utilized to develop drugs to counteract emerging disease epidemics. In a single office, manned by about 100 people, DARPA will be able to single-handedly create cyborgs, wipe out zombies, and create living technology. The future just got a whole lot weirder.