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The mad science of the new defense budget: telepathy, transformers, UFOs and more

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posted on May, 21 2009 @ 05:56 PM

The mad science of the new defense budget: telepathy, transformers, UFOs and more

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.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 05:56 PM
DARPA's new budget is online! Here's the link:
DARPA 2010 Operating Budget (PDF)

Some excerpts:

Digital telepathy

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.

Microscopic missiles

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.

Iron men of tomorrow

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.

Frickin’ laser beams

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.

A five year mission

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.

Eyes in the sky

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.

And this is just some of the unclassified stuff!
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 06:57 PM
I knew about the "user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech" years well, I know of being harangued covertly...

Great post, Ian...

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 07:47 PM
The PDF linked is really a huge and fascinating read. For example, from page 95-96:

Biomimetic Computing*

(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.

This is a new program, which gets $2M this year, and $5.3M in 2010.

[edit on May 21st 2009 by Ian McLean]

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:15 PM
S&F for you Ian McLean!

The science doesn't sound "mad" to me.

We've been moving towards digital telepathy for years. I thought something like this would be funded for development within the government after information on the "brainwaves video game" was released (

Iron men of tomorrow also sounds like a natural progression. I've always thought the military would start with enhancing people's abilities, then switch to mainly using robotic soldiers through perfecting that technology.

The Vulture program is really something. Hopefully it will lead to creating such a craft for space.

And this is just some of the unclassified stuff!

My heart skips a beat when I think of the classified stuff. We are on our way to our fantasy future.

[edit on 21-5-2009 by rapinbatsisaltherage]

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:17 PM
This stuff is just crazy to think of. Sounds pretty interesting though and I will have check out the rest of the stuff too. Thanks!

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:37 PM
You know there is a downside to all this. I've been trying to write a sci-fi novel for a while now and I can't seem to think of a single original or truly far out idea for technology that DARPA isn't already working on. But the time we get to the time frame I'm trying to set my novel we're going to be way ahead of what I'm trying to write.

But in all seriousness, these are some really fascinating ideas that they're actually putting real funding into. I can see the world of tomorrow where the US is deploying exoskeletons armed with gamma lasers, tiny drones, and electronic telepathy. The mobile infantry won't have anything on the US military in a time frame that could be well within our life times.

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:40 PM
What, someone has a problem with Transformers?

You know, they are more than meets the eye.

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:44 PM
Those mini bird-drones sound like the scariest one to me... imagine them releasing a thousand of them into a neighboorhood they want to "clean up" these things can navigate inside and get to you wherever you try to hide, and then take you out. They can perch in waiting for a long time and as soon as you peek outside to see if its safe, they get you!

[edit on 21-5-2009 by mostlyspoons]

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:46 PM
reply to post by cyberdude78

You know there is a downside to all this.

That's the way it is with humanity. When we progress scientifically we always have a mix of the bad and the good.

I think it comes down to this: some things are worth the risk and some are not. Everything listed above will be used for more efficient warfare, so I can't say that it is worth the risk yet, but it will improve our world, and it all sounds amazing.

[edit on 21-5-2009 by rapinbatsisaltherage]

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 08:51 PM
"user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech"

Meanwhile i'm using Skype.....lmao.

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 09:01 PM
Cool, but what are the chances that this stuff will be used for peace? Maybe the Vulture program, for instance, can be used to monitor atrocities in Africa so peace can be made in the continent. What are the odds of this? Probably zip, right? They'll probably start the Vulture program in the Middle East and in the US. Am I right?

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 09:13 PM
I posted the following links on another DARPA related thread recently - I've seen a few since the info release.

Anyway, I enjoy going to the DARPA site every few months and having a look at some of the latest 'disclosed' projects. Here are links to the various offices:

Defense Sciences Office

Tactical Technology Office

Strategic Technology Office

Information Processing Techniques Office

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).

A few more interesting projects are:


The Neovision Program will pursue an integrated approach to the object recognition pathway in the brain.

Programmable Matter

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.

Slowing, Storing, and Processing Light

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.

They even have a Project MAHEM (MAgneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition (MAHEM) -not to be confused with Fight Club's 'Project Mayem' obviously.

And they have at least one project that works in accordance with HAARP:
Ultra-Low Frequency (ULF) Wave Study

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.

And last but not least is Project GALE

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.

...Which will be great for processing unwieldly information obtained by eaves-dropping on anybody and everybody in world.

[edit on 21/5/09 by Evasius]

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 09:43 PM
Time for citizens to start bombing the government with FOIA requests on everyone of these programs and keywords. It's been pretty cool all the info that's been trickling out in the last few months.

posted on May, 21 2009 @ 10:05 PM
reply to post by they see ALL

Well there is this;

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.

That alone would be worth the entire DARPA budget if they could get it to work.

posted on May, 22 2009 @ 09:00 AM

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).

Sounds intriguing but is not about time travel as I thougth first. It's about target detection when te signal sent by the target is weak.

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.

[edit on 22/5/2009 by FreezeM]

posted on May, 22 2009 @ 10:56 AM
reply to post by Evasius

AUGH! I wrote this comment about the MTR tech, but then realized that Freeze beat me to it. So I edited it and commented on the other tech, but when I saved the edit, none of it took.

Not going to write it all again, so just ignore this.

[edit on 5-22-2009 by rogerstigers]

posted on May, 22 2009 @ 03:40 PM

Originally posted by cyberdude78
That alone would be worth the entire DARPA budget if they could get it to work.

Awesome, but they focus on the need for blood on the battlefield. I know it's DARPA here, but still.

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