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DARPA seeks spraycan wound-polyfilla* for injured troops

'My arm! Hey, this one-handed design sure is a boon'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Those splendid brainboxes at DARPA* - who are to ordinary insane scientists in their dungeon laboratories as platinum-selling popsters are to teenage-saddo garage bands - have done it again. This time the wildside-walking wingnut warboffins are looking for a sort of medical equivalent of DIY spraycan sealant, which troops could use to patch up themselves or their buddies when wounded in combat.

DARPA's Defence Sciences Office announced their "Wound Stasis System" (WSS) plans yesterday, and intend to hold a workshop with interested parties next month.

According to the Pentagon battle-boffins, the WSS will consist of a "hand-held delivery device carried by the individual soldier" which will hold enough "material" to treat an area of two square feet and be "operable with one hand".

The miracle foam, gel or whatever is to squirt out of the WSS spraycan will need to be pretty amazing stuff. It will stop bleeding wherever it is applied, working on "all hemorrhaging wounds, compressible and non-compressible, regardless of geometry or location".

No matter what kind of hole a soldier has had blasted in him, or what bits of him may have been shot off, the nifty WSS wound-Polyfilla will cut off the bleeding - somehow using "a materials-based, cross-linking response that provides focal pressure on damaged blood vessels".

Arm blown off? Just squirt WSS superfoam all over the stump, and the spurting brachial artery will be nipped off in a trice. And that's not all: "Metabolic control at the wound site is a secondary goal including management of pain, infection and inflammation."

Once the a wounded trooper, shot full of holes but patched up hurriedly using WSS sprayfilla, arrives back at the MASH unit of the future the cleverness will continue. The crafty medi-cement is to be "easily removed and does not impede normal healing" and "compatible with co-delivery of FDA***-approved agents".

They don't want much, do they?

So it seems that the soldiers of the future, rather than carrying field dressings or similar primitive expedients - US Navy SEAL uniforms now feature built-in drawstring tourniquets, and ultrasonic auto-scab "deep bleeder" healer-cuff rigs are on the drawing boards - will simply slip a can of wound-polyfilla into their combat webbing.

And of course, as time goes by the tech should become accessible to all the rest of us, perhaps even being incorporated into shaving foam.

Great days, eh? ®

Bootnotes

*We believe that in America polyfilla and suchlike products are known as "spackle".

**The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

***The US Food and Drug Administration, which certifies all medical treatments.

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