Washington, DC (TFC) – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the center of scores on conspiracy theories. There’s good reason for that. It receives a couple of billion dollars per year in on-the-books funding and who knows how much in black budget funding. It’s been behind scores of military innovations that have taken and saved lives. It’s also been behind projects that have changed your everyday. It is a 100% certainty that you used one of their inventions today.
For example, in the early 1970s DARPA started a program designed to develop the technologies required to interlink packet networks. The idea was “to develop communication protocols which would allow networked computers to communicate transparently across multiple, linked packet networks.” The system of protocols developed became known as the TCP/IP Protocol Suite. In English, DARPA invented the internet.
While DARPA is often described as “one hundred geniuses connected by a federal travel agent”, don’t assume it’s all for the betterment of man. DARPA was also the source of some of the most outlandish weapons systems the world has ever seen. DARPA’s current projects include a nifty little project titled Persistent Close Air Support. It’s goal is to provide soldiers in the field the ability to mark a location on a map display and then have a remote-controlled A-10 Warthog kill everything at that location. In a project that that sounds like something out of the X-Files, DARPA attempted to train honey bees to find landmines. When that didn’t work, they decided to build insect cyborgs. The agency is also working to build powered exoskeletons for soldiers to wear in combat. That high tech blimp the NSA lost recently? DARPA developed it to spy on everyone all the time.
So while we watch the funny videos below of robots falling down, let’s remember the “Defense” part of the DARPA acronym.
10. Forward to the Future: Visions of 2045 – Pam Melroy (October 21, 2015)
9. New Concept for Air Warfare (March 31, 2015)
8. When Team KAIST Won the DARPA Robotics Challenge (June 7, 2015)
7. A Celebration of Risk (a.k.a. Robots Take a Spill) (June 6, 2015)
6. Revolutionizing Prosthetics – Drinking from a Water Bottle (February 11, 2015)
5. DRC Finals – Main (June 5, 2015)
4. Mission Adaptive Rotor Robotic Landing Gear Demonstration (September 1, 2015)
3. ALASA Concept Video (February 5, 2015)
2. ATLAS Gets an Upgrade (January 20, 2015)
1. EXACTO Live-Fire Tests, February 2015 (April 27, 2015)