4 DARPA Projects We Love - InformationWeek
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2/25/2015
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4 DARPA Projects We Love

Space exploration, self-driving vehicles, advanced biometrics, and robotics are among the cool projects in the works at DARPA that are likely to have applications in the enterprise, too.
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(Image: Torley Olmstead via Flickr/Creative Commons)

(Image: Torley Olmstead via Flickr/Creative Commons)

We always count on The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to have cool, bleeding-edge projects in the works that give us a glimpse of the future.

DARPA's far-out ideas have included brain implants and self-patching networks, disaster-area robots, and self-calibrating microchips smaller than a penny.

We at InformationWeek love reporting on DARPA's latest gadgets, gizmos, and way-out ideas. On the following pages, you'll see four of our favorite recent projects that we think will have a direct impact on our businesses in the future.

As we worry ever more about information security, seek greater automation and connectivity in an age of smart devices that still aren't smart enough, and hope to one day do business from outer space, it's easy to imagine how these DARPA projects could apply at work. In choosing these DARPA projects, we want to highlight future technologies that have particular relevance to the enterprise tech reader. Each of these ultra-high-tech, military-funded projects will someday have applications for your business.

Check out the projects featured on the following pages and tell us what you think. Will DARPA's ideas do you think will someday become commonplace in the enterprise? Do these ideas scare you, or make you eager for the high-tech future that awaits? What else would you like to see DARPA invest in? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Joe Stanganelli is founder and principal of Beacon Hill Law, a Boston-based general practice law firm. His expertise on legal topics has been sought for several major publications, including US News and World Report and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. Joe is also ... View Full Bio

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/3/2015 | 1:53:38 PM
Re: The Cooking Robot is Deadly
@LiTan- I don't think we're talking about replacing the Iron Chefs with actual Iron chefs. The issue is that it learned while watching video how to do something complicated. It actually doesn't matter if it cooks with flair and combines ingedients in new and exciting ways. What matters is that instead of programming the computer by hand to mix ingredients, it learned on its own.

Imagine what that means for industrial robots that right now have to be painstakingly programmed by hand. Imagine what it means for creating robots that move and interact in the world without our intervention. Cooking was selcteded because it is a complicated, non-frightening procedure that has lots of ready-made video to learn from.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 5:45:17 AM
Re: The Cooking Robot is Deadly
Furthermore, I doubt about the skill of cooking robots. As is known to all, cooking is not as simple as operating according to manuals/formula - the great cook needs both talent and good instinct in addition to just hard skill.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/2/2015 | 3:45:26 PM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
@broadway0474- I think before we get to Death Stars, we'll have armed satelittes. Space stations with weapons, etc. And all of that stuff in orbit falls back down the hard way.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
3/2/2015 | 12:36:28 AM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
@Broadway0474, it sad reality as human nature could be good or evil... as everything else technology could be used for good or bad...
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
3/1/2015 | 2:32:19 AM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
@Broadway

Oh, no. I didn't mean nuclear warheads! We wouuldn't need drones or cruise missiles for that. I meant conventional high explosives. The accuracy of cruise missiles make it possible, and the proximity of overhead drones, protected by stealth fighter aircraft, make the cruise missiles cheap enough to be practical.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 10:47:05 PM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
Gary, there's been plenty of precedence set for destroyed cities --- whether the fire in London or the quake in SF, or every major European city being leveled in Europe in WWII --- the financial system always seems to recover. As for drones firing nuclear warheads, certainly someone is working on it as we speak.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 10:44:09 PM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
David, when I think space war I think death star and destroying whole planets --- or in the very least whole space cruisers blowing up.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 12:32:59 AM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
@Broadway
Point taken, the insurance companies are saved! But if the city that hosts Broadway were destroyed, there wouldn't be enough money in the world to compensate the various stakeholders.

But since you bring up drones, a thought crossed my mind, and if I thought of it, I'm sure others have, too. Cruise missiles cost, what - about $1,000,000 each? How about a drone platform from which to launch short range cruise missiles that would be just as powerful, but far cheaper? What a great way to take out North Korean or Iranian nuclear facilities!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:28:02 AM
Re: Cease and desist on lunar land rights
@Broadway0474- I generally agree with you. Spacewar just sounds like a quick way to kill more people faster. All that stuff falls back to earth eventually. Also, I suspect if there is intelligent life out there (I know I'm getting a bit "out there") it would draw some unwanted attention.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:26:35 AM
The Cooking Robot is Deadly
I actually fear the cooking robot the most. They showed it youtube videos and it learned to cook. what if they showed it sniper training films instead?
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