Current Day Innovations in Technology
Stretching the Limits of Human Ingenuity
Technology and innovation are constantly developing to make our lives more convenient by stretching the limits of human ingenuity with the tools of scientific progress. Inventions that used to be the stuff of science fiction are slowly meeting reality. A jet pod that flies in between submarines? A paste that can speed the recovery of broken bones? Super-suits that allow humans to carry more and increase their endurance on the battlefield? These and other ideas have come to fruition through innovations in technology.
At the forefront are companies like Motorola and their techno developments like the bar code on the arm. We know the Military has been using devices to sense the presence of humans and animals through concrete walls for years. Now the technology has become much more personal.
- The Electronic Tattoo and Password Pill: This is a bar code on the arm that allows you to log on to your smart phone without using a password. This electronic tattoo will also allow you to be tracked, and all of your bodily functions to be tracked at all times from a central office. You can even track your children. This is a sharp double edge knife however. If this barcode will allow you to track your child, will it allow others to track your child also? Forgot your password, don’t sweat it, just take a password pill. You can log on to your phone, computer, car and whatever else uses passwords.
- The Boston Dynamics Big Dog: If you need some mussel or need to cross heavy terrain this “dog” weighs about 200 pounds and can carry 340 pounds on its back. This robot will not slip on ice, it can walk through snow, and mud, climbs hills, and will not fall down; even if kicked.
- Biometric Sensors At-A-Distance is another invention that is coming out by Motorola, which is owned by Google, one of the biggest corporations on the globe, and the former head of DARPA, Regina Dugan, has some people worried. The scientist of DARPA wants to take tracking even farther using biometric sensors. They want to be able to identify and track 10 individuals at one time using their heart electrical activity. This would be good to use to find life signs in a disaster, however, on the other side of the coin could this be an invention that may be used to pick who lives and who dies.
In 1958, the United States government, with the approval of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, funded the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA. At the time, the government was responding to the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 spacecraft which was an innovative victory against the United States. Sputnik was a psychological victory for the Russians, and served as a wake up call to the United States, which thought it was on track to reach space first.
It did not take long before defense and political communities recognized the military tactical advantage of many of the creative projects at ARPA. The organization was renamed in 1996 from ARPA to DARPA, adding the “D” for “defense.”
DARPA is a uniquely independent government-related entity, reporting directly to high-level Department of Defense management. The organization employs somewhere near 240 personnel and manages an operating budget of approximately $2.8 billion. It is a small organization with high turnover of personnel each year. The turnover is part of the design of the agency, and exists to ensure a constant flow of fresh perspective and ideas into the projects.
DARPA suffered a setback in 1973 with the passage of the Mansfield Amendment, which limited defense research appropriations with a direct military application. This so-called “brain drain” is credited with helping innovators and scientists form design organizations instrumental in the emergent personal computing industry, like the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) labs. Visits to these labs were an inspiration for Apple innovator Steve Jobs.
Development of the Internet
DARPA was instrumental in the development of the modern day Internet. While working on an early-warning network design to guard against Soviet nuclear bomber attacks, or terrorists attacks such as the Benghazi attack on the U.S. Consulate that ‘real-time’ did not seem to work, the scientists at DARPA began with the concept for a link between computers that could share information in a real-time system. They hoped to provide an almost instantaneous response to any attack on the United States. The project they conceived was the official predecessor to the Internet as we know it today. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, ARPANET, was one of the world’s first packet switching networks and the first to apply TCP/IP.
Subsequent Technology Innovations
Later innovations, including what would become the U.S. Air Force’s F-117 tactical fighter and the Army’s M-16 assault rifle, all began as DARPA initiatives. Much of the technology developed in ballistic missile defense technology was initiated by DARPA. DARPA assisted Boeing’s X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle project and participated in the voice command technology, made popular with Apple’s Siri system.
Today DARPA continues to innovate in cutting-edge ways. Several of the more unique and innovative projects they have developed include:
- Silent Talk ‘Telepathy’ For Soldiers: Allows “user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.”
- TASC – DARPA’s Psychohistory: The agency is seeking whitepapers to fuel the development of a scientific approach to predicting the actions of large masses of people.
- Remotely Guided Sniper Bullets: How is it possible that a bullet could redirect its own course in mid-flight? Somehow, it is.
- Squishy SquishBot ChemBots: ChemBots are soft, flexible robots that are able to alter their shape to squeeze through small openings.
- Precision Urban Hopper Robot: Intended to give wheeled robots an additional edge and the ability to jump onto or over obstacles up to nine meters high.
- Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft Nano Air Vehicle: The Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft is a coin-sized, single-blade helicopter.
- HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem: A University of Michigan team has successfully created a cyborg unicorn beetle microsystem. Researchers have succeeded in implanting electronic circuit probes into tobacco hornworms as early pupae. Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (HI-MEMS) allow operators to control real bugs like a remote control car.
- DARPA Radar Scope: A handheld radarscope can sense through walls and provide troops with Superman-like abilities.
- Sharks with Frickin’ Laser Beams: Straight out of Austin Powers, Dr. Evil’s requested “sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads…” are a reality, thanks to DARPA.
- DARPA Shredder Challenge: Is it possible to reconstitute shredded documents? You betcha.
- DARPA’s ‘Biometrics-At-A-Distance’ Knows You by Heart: Demonstrating the ability to collect, localize, and evaluate physiological signals such as heart rate and heat signature at distances greater than 10 meters.
- Warrior Web: Superhuman Support Suits from DARPA: DARPA is developing a wearable suit that can help enhance and protect modern war fighters.
As science and government work together, new and more innovative devices are created. This technology has raised some questions, and caused concern, with some asking, “could this be the beginning of the Bible’s Mark of the Beast? Like all technology, these ideas will have a profound effect on mankind and continue to raise the question—when is enough technology, enough?
- The Top Ten Most Popular DARPA Features of 2012, by Darpa.mil
- DARPA’s Plan to Revolutionize Auto Manufacturing, by Popularmechanics.com
- DARPA seeks Robots which approach the efficiency of Human and Animal Actuation, by Madison Ruppert at Endthelie.com
- The U.S. Federal Government’s Role in Creating Innovation, by Brady McCartney at Triplepundit.com
- Sputnik and the Dawn of the Space Age, by History.nasa.gov
- ARPA-DARPA: The History of the Name, by About.com
- Circuit Switching vs. Packet Switching, by Nadeem Unuth at Voip.about.com
- Portable Brain Recorders, by Getmindsmart.com
- DARPA leading in Biometric Authentication, by Plurilock.com
- Shark Sub-Hunting Robot, by Robots.net
- Just What is DARPA Up To, by Gareth Cartwright at Planetivy.com
- DARPA-Transforming Soldiers One Cell at a Time, by Worldpoliticsreview.com
- DARPA’s New Snoop Plan, by Katie Drummond at Wired.com
- DARPA’s Brain Machine Interface, by the Boston Globe at Infowars.com
- The Real History of How Siri Came to Be, by Razorianfly.com
- Humanoid Robot, by TheMiyaWorld
- Invisible Cloak, by Cnn.com
- What is Packet Switching, by YouTube
- DARPA Robotics Challenge Track A Robots, by DARPA
- DARPA Briefing 2013, ArmyVideoTube by YouTube
- Captive Air Amphibious Transporter, by Armytechnology.com
- DARPA’s Plan to Nanochip Soldiers, by theAlexJonesChannel
- Headless Humanoid Robots prep for Army Duty, by Wired.com
- Mind Controlled Limbs That can Feel, by Jason Koebler at MSN news
- Bionic Eye, by ITN, YouTube
- Managing Complex Technical Projects Course, Cambridge, Massachusetts at executive.mit.edu
- ENSC C E-105 Engineering Innovation With Information Technology, by Extension.harvard.edu
- Michigan DARPA Training Workshops, by Michigandarpa.org, free to Michigan Residents
- Acuitus.com-Projects DARPA Educational Dominance Training, by Acuitus.com
- The Department of Mad Scientists, by Michael Belfiore at Barnesandnoble.com
- Wired for War, by P.W. Singer at Barnesandnoble.com
- The American Interest, by The American Interest LLC. at Amazon.com
- Wired for Innovation, by Erik Brynjolfsson at Amazon
- Where Wizards Stay up Late, by Katie Hafner at Amazon.com