Almost everyone enjoyed the movie “The Avengers” where earths mightiest heroes were assembled by a covert technologically advanced government agency named S.H.I.E.L.D. Many Americans might be shocked in learning that the United States has its own shield organization, well it is not exactly like shield until you combine it with the spying prowess of the NSA then you would have a real shield type agency. The agency I’m referencing is called D.A.R.P.A. ( Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
“In 1958, at the height of the Cold War, with a tight focus on a single major adversary and in the wake of the shock associated with the Soviet launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, our Nation established the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with a mission of preventing technological surprise from adversely affecting our country while creating surprises for U.S. adversaries. The Second World War was still fresh in our memories, and the atomic capability that marked its end hung heavily over global affairs in that early postwar era. It was a time when the United States was the fastest growing economy in the world. Automobiles and steel were our premier industries. Communications meant a phone call or airmail, while computing meant a slide rule or a room full of vacuum tubes. The integrated circuit was invented and first built that year.”— an excerpt from DARPAS framework PDF. In the above excerpt DARPA describes the world and mind frame which led to their creation and mission to make the federal government the most technologically advanced in the world.
Here is a break down of some of their more well known achievements and upcoming research:
ATLAS the humanoid robot:
Think of the terminator or the sentinels from X-men and you have a slightly more advanced version of ATLAS the humanoid robot. ATLAS was created by Boston Dynamics for DARPA, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.
At six-foot-two and 330 pounds, this hulking first responder has all the qualities you’d want in the field after a disaster: strength, endurance and calm under pressure. Better yet, it has two sets of hands, 28 hydraulic joints, stereo cameras in its head and an onboard computer. ATLAS will also need to drive a car, navigate complicated terrain on foot and move rubble in order to enter a building, climb stairs, and use various tools to do things like turn off valves or break through concrete walls.
Apparently DARPA does not like the fact that purchasing one aircraft takes up nearly all of their defense budget, so they have begun project AVM. AVM is adaptable vehicle make, basically the dream would be for an engineer to design a sub, aircraft, and tank all in one.
Wired magazine’s DARPAwatch section revealed this scary fact. Seems that the Pentagon is fed up with the “ randomness of natural evolutionary advancement” and has directed DARPA to work on creating fully synthetic organisms that will be immortal, but that will, should the highly predictable shit-hitting-the-fan outcome that we can all see coming a fucking mile away like a train with a massive headlight all the way down at the other end of the tunnel come to pass, include a biological kill-switch – allowing the organisms to be stopped dead in their tracks.
Back in the 1990s, Lockheed Martin (A real life Stark Industries) designed and built a high-altitude endurance Unmanned Arial Vehicle (HAE UAV) for the U.S. Department of Defense. The project was known as Project Dark Star. Dark Star was part of the U.S. military’s push to use UAV aerial vehicle as reconnaissance vehicles. UAVs provided another dimension to the military’s strategy. UAVs were designed to include various intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems into one vehicle. The military commonly described this network of inter-connected systems as a “system of systems.”
The idea of traveling 20 times the speed of sound (Mach 20) to avoid detection is a concept that has been studied since the 1970s. Currently under research by DARPA, this technology would also allow the U.S. military to be anywhere in the world in under an hour.
Another company that DARPA likes is one that is trying to replace the “touch” sensory capabilities of a human. That company is called SynTouch. The company reports that its sensory technology called “BioTacs” can be utilized to create robot fingers capable of discriminating between up to 117 textures with 95% accuracy, even textures that are sometimes too difficult for humans to sense the difference.
DARPA investment in SynTouch was $374,626.
Human Sensory Systems
Another fascinating product from a company called Innovega is a technology that at first I thought was essentially Google Glasses on steroids. It’s a very small device – a clear contact lens – that allows the person wearing it to focus on both near and far objects at exactly the same time.he company mentioned the device could be used to view digital displays right near the eye – however, unlike Google Glasses where the display is part of the eyewear, in this case the eyewear simply gives you the capability to see a display close-up while also focusing on distant objects.
Several DARPA projects aim at severe wounds whose bleeding can’t be stopped by direct pressure. Normally, blood clots in response to natural chemical cascades initiated by the nervous system; one proposed approach is to condition soldiers to consciously release the triggering chemicals–a soldier would be able to stop bleeding by concentrating on his wound. Another approach involves injecting vast numbers of nanotech magnets that would circulate harmlessly in the blood. In the event of injury, a special magnetic field passed over the wound would cause the magnets to align, forming a dam around which clotting would occur.
A blastema–also called a regeneration bud–is a mass of undifferentiated cells that can develop into an organ or appendage. In salamanders and other lower vertebrates, blastemas regenerate severed limbs; young children sometimes regrow severed fingertips. DARPA wants to harness the genetic mechanism at work in blastemas to help injured troops. The research, once viewed as extremely speculative even by DARPA standards, lately gained renewed attention.
Today’s techniques for keeping people awake usually involve the loss of cognitive ability. A DARPA-backed project at Wake Forest University centers on a novel class of medicines known as ampakines, which are thought to reverse chemical imbalances in the sleep-deprived brain. At Salk Institute, a project seeks to harness a natural antioxidant found in cocoa (Mars, the candy company, is a collaborator on that one). Scientists at the University of Wisconsin and other research centers are studying birds that migrate for days without sleep. Other groups are studying dolphins and whales, air-breathing mammals that would drown if they slept as we do and have evolved an ability to let one portion of the brain sleep at a time; DARPA hopes to enable troops to do the same. A related project at Columbia University is studying why some pathways in the human brain are much less susceptible to sleep deprivation than others; troops might be trained to use the resilient pathways to stay alert.
The body has more than one neurological pathway for pain. The pain that causes you to jerk away your hand when you touch a hot stove involves a different pathway than the pain you’ll feel later from swelling and inflammation. A “pain vaccine” under development by Rinat Neuroscience, a Genentech spinoff for which DARPA provided early funding, is designed to soak up secretions of a molecule called nerve growth factor that’s necessary for the transmission of the second kind of pain. The vaccine is intended to remain effective for at least 30 days.
As cool as this agency may sound, the implications of its research should scare nearly every citizen. With an already strong police state rising, I can’t help but wonder if the federal government will uses DARPAs achievements against its citizens? Oddly enough DARPA has made no real efforts to hide its research or its inventions, which leaves one to ask what threshold exists at which their research or inventions might merit becoming classified? and if there are any such inventions that are classified what kind of destruction are they capable of?