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Earlier this month, the US Department of Defense released the $3.2 billion budget for their so-called “mad science” division – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA. The agency, whose official imperative is “to create technological surprise for our enemies,” have outdone themselves this time around.
Silent Talk will allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals. The brain generates word-specific signals prior to sending electrical impulses to the vocal cords. These signals of “intended speech” will be analyzed and translated into distinct words, allowing covert person-to-person communication. This program has three major goals: a) to attempt to identify electroencephalography patterns unique to individual words, b) ensure that those patterns are generalizable across users in order to prevent extensive device training, and c) construct a fieldable pre-prototype that would decode the signal and transmit over a limited range.
The goal of [the Nano-Flapping Air Vehicles] program is to develop a flapping and rotary air vehicle technology that results in a bio-inspired flapping and rotary air vehicle with less than a two inch wingspan and gross take-off weight of approximately ten grams or less. Operations in urban terrain require sensors that can navigate in difficult terrain and be inserted without being detected. Small air vehicles capable of navigating interior domains without GPS would enable autonomous prosecution of a number of high risk missions that are currently performed by warfighters. Key enabling technologies include: flapping and rotary wing aerodynamics, kinematics and flight dynamics, lightweight aeroelastically tailored wing structures, miniature navigation systems, micro-propulsion systems, small payloads, and the ability to perch like a bird. This effort will also examine novel materials that can be used to develop integrated wing structures, which change composition to achieve multiple expressions. The program would result in the use of vehicles, which could be camouflaged, or blend into the surrounding landscape, enabling in-theater disposal and prevention of mission detection/compromise.
The BioRobotics and BioMechanics thrust explores approaches to capture biological systems’ ability to move and sense, and emulate them in man-made robotic or sensor systems. The effort includes providing robotics with the mobility required to provide support to soldiers in all terrains, including climbing. This thrust also includes efforts to develop bioinspired swimming aids that will increase the speed and reduce the metabolic costs for combat divers, and make current devices (fins) obsolete for most tactical scenarios.
The goal of the Ultrabeam program is to demonstrate the world’s first gamma-ray laser using laboratory equipment. The demonstration of an X-ray laser with photon energies of 4-5 thousand electron volts (KeV) (Xenon laser at 2-3 Angstrom wavelengths) in the first phase of the Ultrabeam program opens the possibility of creating gamma-ray lasers with photon energies equivalent to 100 KeV – 1 million electron volts (MeV). Compact gamma ray lasers can enable the development of new and more effective radiation therapies and radiation diagnostic tools for medical and materials/device inspection applications. This unique X-ray laser technology could also eventually enable the development of compact, laboratory- scale high-brightness coherent sources for 3-Dimensional molecular scale imaging of living cells and debris-free advanced lithography.
The goal of the Oblique Flying Wing (OFW) program was to expand the design space for future aircraft concepts, particularly for those missions that demand both supersonic speed and long endurance. The potential for a unique combination of excellent high speed and low speed performance would enable rapid deployment and long loiter time, for example, in surveillance or combat air patrol (CAP) roles. The OFW program considered technologies such as advanced controls to develop and fly a small-scale supersonic technology demonstrator X-Plane, and identified key design requirements for an objective system.
The objective of the Vulture program is to develop an aircraft capable of remaining on-station uninterrupted for over five years to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and communication missions over an area of interest. The technology challenges include development of energy management and reliability technologies capable of allowing the aircraft to operate continuously for five years. Vulture, in effect, will be a re-taskable, persistent pseudo-satellite capability, in an aircraft package. The Vulture program will conduct a subscale three-month flight demonstration to prove out critical technologies. Subsequently, the program will conclude with a year-long flight demonstration with a fully functional payload. The anticipated transition partner is the Air Force.
The Integrated Sensor is Structure (ISIS) program…is developing a sensor of unprecedented proportions that is fully integrated into a stratospheric airship that will address the nation’s need for persistent wide-area surveillance, tracking, and engagement for hundreds of time-critical air and ground targets in urban and rural environments. ISIS is achieving radical sensor improvements by melding the next-generation technologies for enormous lightweight antenna apertures and high-energy density components into a highly integrated lightweight multi-purpose airship structure - completely erasing the distinction between payload and platform. The ISIS concept includes ninety-nine percent on-station 24/7/365 availability for simultaneous Airborne Moving Target Indicator (AMTI) (600 kilometers) and Ground-Based Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) (300 kilometers) operation; ten years of autonomous, unmanned flight; hundreds of wideband in-theater covert communications links; responsive reconstitution of failed space assets; plus CONUS-based sensor analysis and operation. The ISIS technology is planned for transition to the Air Force.
(U) Biomimetic Computing’s goal is to develop the critical technologies necessary for the realization of a Conscious Artifact comprised of biologically derived simulations of the brain embodied in a mechanical (robotic) system, which is further embedded in a physical environment. These devices will be a new generation of autonomous flexible machines that are capable of pattern recognition and adaptive behavior and that demonstrate a level of learning and cognition. Key enabling technologies include simulation of brain-inspired neural systems and special purpose digital processing systems designed for this purpose.
FY 2009 Plans:
- Create a special purpose processor and associated assembly language to enable systems to have one million neuronal processing units.
FY 2010 Plans:
- Develop the capability to simulate a system of one million thalamocortical neurons with spike time dependent plasticity.
And this is just some of the unclassified stuff!
You know there is a downside to all this.
The Neovision Program will pursue an integrated approach to the object recognition pathway in the brain.
The goal of Programmable Matter Program is to demonstrate a new functional form of matter, based on mesoscale particles, which can reversibly assemble into complex 3D objects upon external command. These 3D objects will exhibit all the functionality of their conventional counterparts.
DSO is exploring the development of functional material systems with the ability to slow, store, and process light pulses. These systems utilize quantum interference between energy levels of the material to produce highly nonlinear effects on light pulses propagating through the material. Perhaps the most dramatic of these are the slowing of light pulses to a few meters per second, and the storage and subsequent retrieval of a light pulse over several hundred milliseconds.
The Z-Man Program will develop climbing aids that will enable an individual soldier to scale vertical walls constructed of typical building materials without the need for ropes or ladders. The overall goal of the program is to enable an individual soldier using dry adhesive climbing aides to scale a vertical surface at 0.5 m/s while carrying a combat load.
The ULF program will provide necessary understanding of HAARP generated ULF waves that will lead to the development of ULF for applications of significance to military operations. The foreseeable outcomes include very long range communications including subterranean communications, underground imaging and exploration, Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) electromagnetic pulse (EMP) propagation, and satellite protection via particle precipitation in the radiation belts.
The goal of the GALE (Global Autonomous Language Exploitation) program is to develop and apply computer software technologies to absorb, translate, analyze, and interpret huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages, eliminating the need for linguists and analysts, and automatically providing relevant, concise, actionable information to military command and personnel in a timely fashion. Automatic processing "engines" will convert and distill the data, delivering pertinent, consolidated information in easy-to-understand forms to military personnel and monolingual English-speaking analysts in response to direct or implicit requests.
Blood type AAA The overall Blood Pharming program objective is to develop an automated culture and packaging system that yields transfusable levels of universal donor red blood cells (RBCs) from progenitor cell sources. The goal of the Phase II effort is to produce 100 units of universal donor (Type O negative) RBCs per week for eight weeks in an automated closed culture system using a renewing progenitor population. Central to Phase II work will be the demonstration of a two hundred million-fold expansion of progenitor cell populations to mature RBCs. To realize these goals, Phase II will capitalize advances in cell differentiation, expansion, and bioreactor technology developed in Phase I of the program. Successful completion of the Blood Pharming effort will provide a safe donorless blood supply that is the functional equivalent of fresh donor cells, satisfying a large battlefield demand and reducing the logistical burden of donated blood in theater.
Originally posted by Evasius
At the DSO (under section M), there is a program entitled Mathematical Time Reversal which I find highly intriguing. Unfortunately it's non-clickable (the only project not viewable I might add).
During the first phase of this program, several time reversal target detection methods were developed. These methods achieved high probability of detection with low false alarm rates in highly cluttered environments where conventional processing methods failed to detect the presence of targets in both simulation and with actual data.