War dogs. They are equal parts badass and cute. And on top of that, they're smart. They need to be to get the job done. In the interest of finding the cleverest canines for potential war-doggery, DARPA's got a plan to start scanning puppy brains in an MRI machine. But rest assured, those brains are still in the puppies in question.
The project, "Functional Imaging to Develop Outstanding Service-Dogs" or FIDOS for short, was uncovered in a new research solicitation from DARPA. The plan goes a little something like this: coax a pup with potential into an MRI machine, have a trainer give it cues, and then read its brain activity. Theoretically, the ones with the most activity will be the smartest/easiest to train.
The plan is based on other, similar research involving dogs and MRI machines and might not only be used to find smart dogs, but also "hyper-social" ones, that would be great for working with soldiers with PTSD in rehab. Hopefully the plan works out, because having the best dogs for whatever job is good for all parties involved. No need to test to find out which war dogs are the cutest though. The answer is all of them. [Wired]
Image: US Army photo/Pfc. William Servinski II