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Courtesy of DARPA

The Defense Department's research arm DARPA announced this week the forthcoming contracts for its ambitious Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) project, which seeks to create computer chips that can be implanted in the brain to enable direct communication between it and a computer, as well as to enhance human senses.

One example of a project under the NESD umbrella is led by Drs. Jose-Alain Sahel and Serge Picaud — it will seek to "enable communication between neurons in the visual cortex and a camera-based, high-definition artificial retina worn over the eyes," in order to augment human vision.

Why it matters: DARPA has funded the basic research that has led to such breakthroughs as the Internet and GPS. Observers hope that with the tens of millions of dollars the feds are investing in this technology, along with efforts by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, it won't be long before these technologies are in widespread use.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

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