This is a selection of DARPA.mil public programs that I think are of interest, it is a bit dense but gives a clear picture of where technology is currently headed on the cutting edge and plenty of these programs have capabilites a conspiracy minded person would find quite interesting
- 100G program
The 100G program is exploring high-order modulation and spatial multiplexing techniques to achieve the 100 Gb/s capacity at ranges of 200 km air-to-air and 100 km air-to-ground from a high-altitude (e.g. 60,000 ft.) aerial platform. The program is leveraging the characteristics of millimeter wave (mmW) frequencies to produce spectral efficiencies at or above 20 bits-per-second per Hz. Computationally efficient signal processing algorithms are also being developed to meet size, weight, and power (SWaP) limitations of host platforms, which will primarily be high-altitude, long-endurance aerial platforms.
The ultimate goal of the DARPA Accelerated Computation for Efficient Scientific Simulation (ACCESS) is to demonstrate new, specialized benchtop technology that can solve large problems in complex physical systems on the hour timescale, compared to existing methods that require full cluster-scale supercomputing resources and take weeks to months
3.Active Social Engineering Defense
I find this one especially interesting because the definition of “attacker” could easily shift to “dissenter” enabling complete control over the currently unregulated spread of politically inconvenient ideas through the internet
The Active Social Engineering Defense (ASED) program aims to develop the core technology to enable the capability to automatically elicit information from a malicious adversary in order to identify, disrupt, and investigate social engineering attacks. If successful, the ASED technology will do this by mediating communications between users and potential attackers, actively detecting attacks and coordinating investigations to discover the identity of the attacker.
4.Advanced Plant Technologies
Great now you will have to be suspicious of new weeds popping up your backyard
The Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) program seeks to develop plants capable of serving as next-generation, persistent, ground-based sensor technologies to protect deployed troops and the homeland by detecting and reporting on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) threats. Such biological sensors would be effectively energy-independent, increasing their potential for wide distribution, while reducing risks associated with deployment and maintenance of traditional sensors. These technologies could also potentially support humanitarian operations by, for example, detecting unexploded ordnance in post-conflict settings. DARPA’s technical vision for APT is to harness plants’ innate mechanisms for sensing and responding to environmental stimuli, extend that sensitivity to a range of signals of interest, and engineer discreet response mechanisms that can be remotely monitored using existing ground-, air-, or space-based hardware.
5.ARES This one has a neat picture
ARES is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight module designed to operate as an unmanned platform capable of transporting a variety of payloads. The ARES VTOL flight module is designed to have its own power system, fuel, digital flight controls and remote command-and-control interfaces. Twin tilting ducted fans would provide efficient hovering and landing capabilities in a compact configuration, with rapid conversion to high-speed cruise flight.
The goal of DARPA’s Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program is to develop a significantly less expensive approach for routinely launching small satellites, with a goal of at least threefold reduction in costs compared to current military and U.S. commercial launch costs. Currently, small satellite payloads cost more than $30,000 per pound to launch, and must share a launcher with other satellites. ALASA seeks to propel 100-pound satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) within 24 hours of call-up, all for less than $1 million per launch.
The A2P program was conceived to deliver scalable technologies for assembly of nanometer- to micron-scale components—which frequently possess unique characteristics due to their small size—into larger, human-scale systems. The goal of the A2P program is to achieve never-before-seen functionality by using scalable processes to assemble fully 3-dimensional devices that include nanometer- to micron-scale components.
The ADEPT program’s four thrusts cover simple-to-use, on-demand diagnostics for medical decision-making and accurate threat-tracking; novel methods for rapidly manufacturing new types of vaccines with increased potency; novel tools to engineer mammalian cells for targeted drug delivery and in vivo diagnostics; and novel methods to impart near-immediate immunity to an individual using antibodies.
the Pharmacy on Demand (PoD) and Biologically-derived Medicines on Demand (Bio-MOD) initiatives. The combined efforts seek to develop miniaturized device platforms and techniques that can produce multiple small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and therapeutic proteins in response to specific battlefield threats and medical needs as they arise. PoD research is aimed at developing and demonstrating the capability to manufacture multiple APIs of varying chemical complexity using shelf-stable precursors, while Bio-MOD research is focused on developing novel, flexible methodologies for genetic engineering and modification of microbial strains, mammalian cell lines, and cell-free systems to synthesize multiple protein-based therapeutics
The Biological Robustness in Complex Settings (BRICS) program aims to transform engineered microbial biosystems into reliable, cost-effective strategic resources for the Department of Defense (DoD), enabling future applications in the areas of intelligence, readiness, and force protection. Examples include the identification of the geographical provenance of objects; protection of critical systems and infrastructure against corrosion, biofouling, and other damage; sensing of hazardous compounds; and efficient, on-demand bio-production of novel coatings, fuels, and drugs.
The Big Mechanism program aims to develop technology to read research abstracts and papers to extract pieces of causal mechanisms, assemble these pieces into more complete causal models, and reason over these models to produce explanations. The domain of the program is cancer biology with an emphasis on signaling pathways. Although the domain of the Big Mechanism program is cancer biology, the overarching goal of the program is to develop technologies for a new kind of science in which research is integrated more or less immediately—automatically or semi-automatically—into causal, explanatory models of unprecedented completeness and consistency. Cancer pathways are just one example of causal, explanatory models.
Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) have inherent operational and tactical advantages such as stealth and surprise. UUV size, weight and volume are constrained by the handling, launch and recovery systems on their host platforms, however, and UUV range is limited by the amount of energy available for propulsion and the power required for a given underwater speed. Current state-of-the-art energy sources are limited by safety and certification requirements for host platforms. The Blue Wolf program seeks to develop and demonstrate an integrated UUV capable of operating at speed-range combinations previously unachievable on current representative platforms, while retaining traditional volume and weight fractions for payloads and electronics.
The Clean-Slate Design of Resilient, Adaptive, Secure Hosts (CRASH) program will pursue innovative research into the design of new computer systems that are highly resistant to cyber-attack, can adapt after a successful attack to continue rendering useful services, learn from previous attacks how to guard against and cope with future attacks, and can repair themselves after attacks have succeeded. Exploitable vulnerabilities originate from a handful of known sources (e.g., memory safety); they remain because of deficits in tools, languages and hardware that could address and prevent vulnerabilities at the design, implementation and execution stages. Often, making a small change in one of these stages can greatly ease the task in another. The CRASH program will encourage such cross layer co-design and participation from researchers in any relevant area.
The Communicating with Computers (CwC) program aims to enable symmetric communication between people and computers in which machines are not merely receivers of instructions but collaborators, able to harness a full range of natural modes including language, gesture and facial or other expressions. For the purposes of the CwC program, communication is understood to be the sharing of complex ideas in collaborative contexts.
A simulation of the spread and evolution of online information, if accurate and at-scale, could enable a deeper and more quantitative understanding of adversaries’ use of the global information environment than is currently possible using existing approaches. At present, the U.S. Government employs small teams of experts to speculate how information may spread online. While these activities provide some insight, they take considerable time to orchestrate and execute, the accuracy with which they represent real-world online behavior is unknown, and their scale (in terms of the size and granularity with which populations are represented) is such that they can represent only a fraction of the real world. High-fidelity (i.e., accurate, at-scale) computational simulation of the spread and evolution of online information would support efforts to analyze strategic disinformation campaigns by adversaries, deliver critical information to local populations during disaster relief operations, and could potentially contribute to other critical missions in the online information domain.
Recent technological advances have made the longstanding dream of on-orbit robotic servicing of satellites a near-term possibility. The potential advantages of that unprecedented capability are enormous. Instead of designing their satellites to accommodate the harsh reality that, once launched, their investments could never be repaired or upgraded, satellite owners could use robotic vehicles to physically inspect, assist, and modify their on-orbit assets. That could significantly lower construction and deployment costs while dramatically extending satellite utility, resilience, and reliability.
Automated, deep natural-language processing (NLP) technology may hold a solution for more efficiently processing text information and enabling understanding connections in text that might not be readily apparent to humans. DARPA created the Deep Exploration and Filtering of Text (DEFT) program to harness the power of NLP. Sophisticated artificial intelligence of this nature has the potential to enable defense analysts to efficiently investigate orders of magnitude more documents so they can discover implicitly expressed, actionable information contained within them.
The Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx) program aims to support military operational readiness by reducing the time to treatment, logistical challenges, and potential off-target effects associated with traditional medical interventions for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions commonly faced by our warfighters. ElectRx seeks to deliver non-pharmacological treatments for pain, general inflammation, post-traumatic stress, severe anxiety, and trauma that employ precise, closed-loop, non-invasive modulation of the patient’s peripheral nervous system.
19.Engineered Living Materials
The Engineered Living Materials (ELM) program seeks to revolutionize military logistics and construction in remote, austere, high-risk, and/or post-disaster environments by developing living biomaterials that combine the structural properties of traditional building materials with attributes of living systems, including the ability to rapidly grow in situ, self-repair, and adapt to the environment. Living materials could solve existing challenges associated with the construction and maintenance of built environments, and introduce new capabilities to craft smart infrastructure that dynamically responds to its surroundings
The Enhanced Attribution program aims to make currently opaque malicious cyber adversary actions and individual cyber operator attribution transparent by providing high-fidelity visibility into all aspects of malicious cyber operator actions and to increase the government’s ability to publicly reveal the actions of individual malicious cyber operators without damaging sources and methods. The program will develop techniques and tools for generating operationally and tactically relevant information about multiple concurrent independent malicious cyber campaigns, each involving several operators, and the means to share such information with any of a number of interested parties.
Handheld Laser guns yo
The DARPA Excalibur program will develop coherent optical phased array technologies to enable scalable laser weapons that are 10 times lighter and more compact than existing high-power chemical laser systems. The optical phased array architecture provides electro-optical systems with the same mission flexibility and performance enhancements that microwave phased arrays provide for RF systems and a multifunction Excalibur array may also perform laser radar, target designation, laser communications, and airborne-platform self protection tasks.
Materials with superior strength, density and resiliency properties are important for the harsh environments in which Department of Defense platforms, weapons and their components operate. Recent scientific advances have opened up new possibilities for material design in the ultrahigh pressure regime (up to three million times higher than atmospheric pressure). Materials formed under ultrahigh pressure, known as extended solids, exhibit dramatic changes in physical, mechanical and functional properties and may offer significant improvements to armor, electronics, propulsion and munitions systems in any aerospace, ground or naval platform.
DARPA has launched the Gremlins program. Named for the imaginary, mischievous imps that became the good luck charms of many British pilots during World War II, the program envisions launching groups of UASs from existing large aircraft such as bombers or transport aircraft—as well as from fighters and other small, fixed-wing platforms—while those planes are out of range of adversary defenses. When the gremlins complete their mission, a C-130 transport aircraft would retrieve them in the air and carry them home, where ground crews would prepare them for their next use within 24 hours.
HAPTIX builds on prior DARPA investments in the Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, which created novel neural interface systems that overcame previous sensor reliability issues to now last for the lifetime of the patient. A key focus of HAPTIX is on creating new technologies to interface permanently and continuously with the peripheral nerves in humans. HAPTIX technologies are being designed to tap into the motor and sensory signals of the arm to allow users to control and sense the prosthesis via the same neural signaling pathways used for intact limbs. Direct access to these natural control signals will, if successful, enable more natural, intuitive control of complex hand movements, and the addition of sensory feedback will further improve hand functionality by enabling users to sense grip force and hand posture. Sensory feedback may also provide important psychological benefits such as improving prosthesis “embodiment” and reducing the phantom limb pain that is suffered by approximately 80 percent of amputees.
The IVN Diagnostics (IVN:Dx) effort aims to develop a generalized in vivo platform that provides continuous physiological monitoring for the warfighter. Specifically, IVN:Dx investigates technologies that incorporate implantable nanoplatforms composed of bio-compatible, nontoxic materials; in vivo sensing of small and large molecules of biological interest; multiplexed detection of analytes at clinically relevant concentrations; and external interrogation of the nanoplatforms without using implanted electronics for communication. The IVN Therapeutics (IVN:Tx) effort seeks unobtrusive nanoplatforms for rapidly treating disease in warfighters. This program is pursuing treatments that increase safety and minimize the dose required for clinically relevant efficacy; limit off-target effects; limit immunogenicity; increase effectiveness by targeting delivery to specific tissues and/or uptake by cells of interest; increase bioavailability; knock down medically relevant molecular target(s); and increase resistance to degradation. If successful, such platforms will enable prevention and treatment of military-relevant illnesses such as infections caused by multi-drug-resistant organisms.
DARPA has launched the Memex program. Memex seeks to develop software that advances online search capabilities far beyond the current state of the art. The goal is to invent better methods for interacting with and sharing information, so users can quickly and thoroughly organize and search subsets of information relevant to their individual interests. The technologies developed in the program would provide the mechanisms for improved content discovery, information extraction, information retrieval, user collaboration and other key search functions.
Recent advances in our understanding of light-matter interactions, often with patterned and resonant structures, reveal nascent concepts for new interactions that may impact many applications. Examples of these novel phenomena include interactions involving active media, symmetry, non-reciprocity, and linear/nonlinear resonant coupling effects. Insights regarding the origins of these interactions have the potential to transform our understanding of how to control electromagnetic waves and design for new light-matter interactions. The goal of NLM is to bring together and integrate these emerging phenomena with fundamental models that can describe and predict new functionality. These models will provide design tools and delineate the performance limits of new engineered light-matter interactions. Important applications to be addressed in the program include synthesizing new material structures for sources, non-reciprocal behavior, parametric phenomena, limiters, electromagnetic drives, and energy harvesting.
The Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program seeks to develop high-resolution neurotechnology capable of mitigating the effects of injury and disease on the visual and auditory systems of military personnel. In addition to creating novel hardware and algorithms, the program conducts research to understand how various forms of neural sensing and actuation might improve restorative therapeutic outcomes. The focus of the program is development of advanced neural interfaces that provide high signal resolution, speed, and volume data transfer between the brain and electronics, serving as a translator for the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology. The program aims to develop an interface that can read 106 neurons, write to 105 neurons, and interact with 103 neurons full-duplex, a far greater scale than is possible with existing neurotechnology.
29.Neuro – FAST
Military personnel control sophisticated systems, experience extraordinary stress, and are subject to injury of the brain. DARPA created the Neuro Function, Activity, Structure, and Technology (Neuro-FAST) program to begin to address these challenges by combining innovative neurotechnology with an advanced understanding of the brain. Using a multidisciplinary approach that combines data processing, mathematical modeling, and novel optical interfaces, the program seeks to open new pathways for understanding and treating brain injury, enable unprecedented visualization and decoding of brain activity, and build sophisticated tools for communicating with the brain.
Satlets: A new low-cost, modular satellite architecture that can scale almost infinitely. Satlets are small independent modules (roughly 15 pounds/7 kg) that incorporate essential satellite functionality (power supplies, movement controls, sensors, etc.). Satlets share data, power and thermal management capabilities. They also physically aggregate (attach together) in different combinations that would provide capabilities to accomplish a range of diverse space missions with any type, size or shape payload. Because they are modular, they can be produced on an assembly line at low cost and integrated very quickly with different payloads. DARPA is presently focused on validating the technical concept of satlets in LEO.
Payload Orbital Delivery (POD) system: The POD is a standardized mechanism designed to safely carry a wide variety of separable mass elements to orbit—including payloads, satlets and electronics—aboard commercial communications satellites. This approach would take advantage of the tempo and “hosted payloads” services that commercial satellites now provide while enabling lower-cost delivery to GEO.
Revolutionizing Prosthetics performer teams developed two anthropomorphic, advanced, modular prototype prosthetic arm systems, including sockets, which offer users increased dexterity, strength, and range of motion over traditional prosthetic limbs. The program has developed neurotechnology to enable direct neural control of these systems, as well as non-invasive means of control. DARPA is also studying the restoration of sensation, connecting sensors to the arm systems and returning haptic feedback from the arm directly back to volunteers’ brains. The LUKE Arm system was originally developed for DARPA by DEKA Research and Development Corporation. The modular, battery-powered arm enables dexterous arm and hand movement through a simple, intuitive control system that allows users to move multiple joints simultaneously. Years of testing and optimization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs led to clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2014 and creation of a commercial-scale manufacturer, Mobius Bionics, in July 2016. In June 2017, the first two LUKE Arm systems were prescribed to veterans. The Modular Prosthetic Limb, developed for DARPA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, is a more complex hand and arm system designed primarily as a research tool. It is used to test direct neural control of a prosthesis. In studies, volunteers living with paralysis have demonstrated multi-dimensional control of the hand and arm using electrode arrays placed on their brains, as well as restoration of touch sensation via a closed-loop interface connecting the brain with haptic sensors in the arm system.
Safe Genes performer teams work across three primary technical focus areas to develop tools and methodologies to control, counter, and even reverse the effects of genome editing—including gene drives—in biological systems across scales. First, researchers are developing the genetic circuitry and genome editing machinery for robust, spatial, temporal, and reversible control of genome editing activity in living systems. Second, researchers are developing small molecules and molecular strategies to provide prophylactic and treatment solutions that prevent or limit genome editing activity and protect the genome integrity of organisms and populations. Third, researchers are developing “genetic remediation” strategies that eliminate unwanted engineered genes from a broad range of complex population and environmental contexts to restore systems to functional and genetic baseline states.
The Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program supports improved, accelerated training of military personnel in multifaceted and complex tasks. The program is investigating the use of non-invasive neurotechnology in combination with training to boost the neurochemical signaling in the brain that mediates neural plasticity and facilitates long-term retention of new cognitive skills. If successful, TNT technology would apply to a wide range of defense-relevant needs, including foreign language learning, marksmanship, cryptography, target discrimination, and intelligence analysis, improving outcomes while reducing the cost and duration of the Defense Department’s extensive training regimen. TNT focuses on a specific kind of learning—cognitive skills training. The premise is that during optimal times in the training process, precise activation of peripheral nerves through stimulation can boost the release of brain chemicals such as acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine that promote and strengthen neuronal connections in the brain. These so-called neuromodulators play a role in regulating synaptic plasticity, the process by which connections between neurons change to improve brain function during learning. By combining peripheral neurostimulation with conventional training practices, the TNT program seeks to leverage endogenous neural circuitry to enhance learning by facilitating tuning of the neural networks responsible for cognitive functions.
The Synergistic Discovery and Design (SD2) program aims to develop data-driven methods to accelerate scientific discovery and robust design in domains that lack complete models. Engineers regularly use high-fidelity simulations to create robust designs in complex domains such as aeronautics, automobiles, and integrated circuits. In contrast, robust design remains elusive in domains such as synthetic biology, neuro-computation, and polymer chemistry due to the lack of high-fidelity models. SD2 seeks to develop tools to enable robust design despite the lack of complete scientific models.
DARPA’s SeeMe program aims to give mobile individual US warfighters access to on-demand, space-based tactical information in remote and beyond- line-of-sight conditions. If successful, SeeMe will provide small squads and individual teams the ability to receive timely imagery of their specific overseas location directly from a small satellite with the press of a button — something that’s currently not possible from military or commercial satellites. The program seeks to develop a constellation of small “disposable” satellites, at a fraction of the cost of airborne systems, enabling deployed warfighters overseas to hit ‘see me’ on existing handheld devices to receive a satellite image of their precise location within 90 minutes. DARPA plans SeeMe to be an adjunct to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, which provides local and regional very-high resolution coverage but cannot cover extended areas without frequent refueling. SeeMe aims to support warfighters in multiple deployed overseas locations simultaneously with no logistics or maintenance costs beyond the warfighters’ handheld devices.
Working together, DARPA, along with companies from the semiconductor and defense industries—Applied Materials, Global Foundries, IBM, Intel, Micron, Raytheon, Texas Instruments and United Technologies—have established the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research Network (STARnet). This effort builds a large multi-university research community to look beyond current evolutionary directions to make discoveries that drive technology innovation beyond what can be imagined for electronics today. The universities are organized into six centers, each focused on a specific challenge.
- Function Accelerated nanomaterial Engineering (FAME) focuses on nonconventional materials and devices incorporating nanostructures with quantum-level properties to enable analog, logic and memory devices for beyond-binary computation.
- Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) focuses onelectron spin-based memory and computation to overcome the power, performance and architectural constraints of conventional CMOS-based devices.
- Systems on Nanoscale Information fabriCs (SONIC) explores a drastic shift in the model of computation and communication from a deterministic digital foundation to a statistical one.
- Center for Low Energy Systems Technology (LEAST) pursues low power electronics. For this purpose it addresses nonconventional materials and quantum-engineered devices, and projects implementation in novel integrated circuits and computing architectures.
- The Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR) investigates highly parallel computing implemented in nonconventional computing systems, but based on current CMOS integrated circuit technology.
- The TerraSwarm Research Center (TerraSwarm) focuses on the challenge of developing technologies that provide innovative, city-scale capabilities via the deployment of distributed applications on shared swarm platforms.
The Z-Man programs aims to develop biologically inspired climbing aids to enable warfighters to scale vertical walls constructed from typical building materials, while carrying a full combat load, and without the use of ropes or ladders. Geckos, spiders and small animals are the inspiration behind the Z-Man program. These creatures scale vertical surfaces using unique systems that exhibit strong reversible adhesion via van der Waals forces or hook-into-surface asperities. Z-Man seeks to build synthetic versions of these biological systems, optimize them for efficient human climbing and use them as novel climbing aids.