The Defense Department’s research arm is working on a project that connects human operators’ brains to the systems they’re controlling—and vice versa. The idea of humans controlling machines with their minds has spun off sci-fi blockbusters like “Pacific Rim” and entire subgenres of foreign film, but while today skyscraper-sized fighting robots exist only on the big screen, the Pentagon is building technology that could one day make them a reality.

Today, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is selecting teams to develop a “neural interface” that would both allow troops to connect to military systems using their brainwaves and let those systems transmit back information directly to users’ brains. The Next-Generation Non-Surgical Neurotechnology, or N3, program aims to combine the speed and processing power of computers with humans’ ability to adapt to complex situations, DARPA said. READ MORE