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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

CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact that the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.

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