This BoingBoing blurb talks about a project from the Department of Defense looking at a system for 'Augmented Cognition'. The Boing Boing folks want more information about how it would work - and mostly they are just talking about the poor content of the video, which is available here. Surprise! It's a DARPA project.
I am suddenly reminded of one of the first DARPA projects that I ever heard about. It was to develop a helmet for the military that would keep the wearer awake and alert without the need for drugs. Also the helmet would stimulate the aggression centers of the wearer's brain. Looking at the article now, it appears as though I read a few things into the article (there must have been another article somewhere). MUSC says that the idea is to 'improve soldier performance'. Remember, this project is the first time that I had ever heard of DARPA. I think that the helmet project automatically gave them creepy status in my mind. The project was given to the Military College of South Carolina, MUSC. The press release I read is available here at MUSC's site and is dated from May, 2002.
They were testing a principle called TMS: About TMS -- The system will use the principle of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to stimulate regions of the brain affected by sleep deprivation. George has received international recognition for his development of this technique to treat depressive illness. Transcranial magnetic stimulation involves placing an electromagnetic coil on the scalp. High-intensity current is rapidly turned on and off in the coil through the discharge of capacitors. This produces a time-varying magnetic field that lasts for about 100 to 200 microseconds. The magnetic field has a strength of approximately 40,000 times the earth's magnetic field. The proximity of the brain to the time-varying magnetic field makes current flow in neural tissue. The technological advances made in the last 15 years led to the development of magnetic stimulators that produce sufficient current in the brain to result in neuronal depolarization.