DARPA solicitation days are like Christmas morning for technology nerds, occasions whose bounty defense tech geeks look forward to precisely because we have no idea what we are going to get. And in case you thought DARPA might scale back its far-out R&D ambitions in light of impending defense budget cuts, be advised: the DoD's blue-sky researchers fear no fiscal cliff (in fact, it has likely already developed a self-assembling hypersonic vehicle that will automatically scramjet the agency to safety should any cliff, fiscal or otherwise, be autonomously detected). So what does DARPA want in 2013? Read on.
Portable Brain Recording Device (With App!): "The effort will develop a portable, inexpensive, and easy-to-use electroencephalography (EEG) device and corresponding mobile application (app) for use by nontraditional audiences," the solicitations says. Who is this audience? Why, it's me and you.
According to DARPA, there are plenty of DoD-based reasons for wanting a cheap ($30) and easy to use EEG device that runs off a smartphone--like being able to diagnose neural trauma in the field--but that's not DARPA's primary driver for funding this. Rather, given EEGs great potential, it's just something we need. Having EEGs in every classroom would be a boon to STEM education, the solicitation says, and current commercial EEG setups are too expensive, plagued by problems, and difficult to use. DARPA wants a better phone-based brain reader.
A Way To Beat The Bends: Deep-sea diving is dangerous. Ascend or descend too quickly or without taking the proper precautions, and you could end up with the "bends" or various other conditions caused by inhaling gasses at high pressure or by the differences in pressure at different depths. Divers generally get around this by breathing static gas mixtures at prescribed intervals and durations throughout ascent and descent, as dictated by textbook standards developed over decades and decades of diving.
But every body's physiology is different--so shouldn't this process be tailored to the person? DARPA wants a dynamic diving system that simultaneously monitors a diver's physiology and delivers the necessary gas mixtures at the necessary pressures automatically, making descent and ascent both safer and likely faster (see the military application here?). The agency wants an entire system--both the chip-scaled instruments for measuring the body's indicators and a system for delivering things like nitric oxide into the air supply at optimal times to keep the diver's body firing on all cylinders during deep diving operations. In other words, a dive suit and air supply that is also a robotic dive coach and deep-sea doctor.
Self-Healing Software: Everything is networked now--our control systems (everything from our home security systems to building fire-suppression schemes to nuclear power plants), our communications infrastructure, our vehicles, our weaponized drones--and it's tough to keep tabs on every system all the time. That means the convenience of a networked world also introduces a very vulnerable one as well. In other words, people keep hacking us and DARPA is getting annoyed.
To keep our embedded networked systems from being compromised, "DARPA seeks to develop novel technology for automatically detecting and automatically patching vulnerabilities in networked, embedded systems." The DoD leaves the door wide open here, without specifying exactly how this technology should look or work, only that it should be widely applicable and versatile. And, presumably, un-hackable.
Electro-Gravity Vision: Most of America's enemies use electricity and all of them use gravity, making those two attractive means by which to try to detect them when they're trying to stay concealed. But the signatures that arise from electrical power systems (like portable generators or power distribution systems) and gravity (or, in this case, a lack of mass in the form of a tunnel or underground bunker) decay rapidly over distance. DARPA wants something that can see these signatures from afar.
That means no systems that require sensor placement near the target or payloads aboard low-flying aircraft. DARPA wants true remote sensing tech, something that can operate aboard an aerial system but scan across more than 6 miles of empty space to zero in on the weak signatures of an electrical system or a gravitational aberration. And possibly guide a Hellfire missile.
Swarming Satellites: Picosatellites--satellites weighing less than one kilogram (2.2 pounds)--are inexpensive to launch but also largely ineffective as stand-alone platforms. They're simply too small to carry any kind of large-scale sensor or power source. DARPA is already at work on what it calls its System F6 satellite cluster--a swarm of picosats that distribute the various computing, communications, navigation, and sensing chores between several satellites working as a unit. It's launching an F6 testbed to orbit in 2015.
What DARPA now wants is other picosats that can work with its backbone picosat cluster. Specifically, DARPA wants an Earth imaging picosat that can successfully communicate and integrate with the F6 cluster to command, package, and deliver Earth imagery from orbit to the ground via high-speed data link.
Also on DARPA's 2013 wish list: Biodegradable electronics for medical implant purposes, technologies that can boost wireless communications spectrum capabilities, and "single crystal self-assembly." If any of this sounds like a technology you can deliver, Uncle Sam wants you.
Generalization. Failed joke.
Perhaps extreme portable gravity diving brain vision reading would be nice for DARPA to do or invent.
The self healing software could backfire even when the autopatching function is working properly. Case in point; the standard brute force attack. Would the autopatch close all access?
And yeah. I made up a word. Does Webster's Dictionary check PopSci?
WoWzers, a made up word, lol. If you go back and read all PoPSCi articles and us commentors, the answer to your question of reading of PoPSCi by Webster would be an absolute NO, lol.... ROFLaughing no no NO-er! Gosh oh no!
He he... snort.. so funny, a no.
Just so you know, I still love ya PoPSCi for all your GeeWiz, Gosh be oh my Golly, WoWzers feeling you inspirer!
The EGV system had me wondering what we can get out of UV wavelength imaging. Enough to show portable electronics in use? Put a steroided up version of the EUVE satellite on a C-130.
If they are calling for a phone EEG, then they are probably satisfied that our brain map is solid now. The thought police will release the robot dog assassins on me soon I think. My electro-Kenlration robot dog food must be completed by then. I'm close; I can feel it.
The picosatellites could use a platform more akin to a glider with the proper shape for their altitude, maybe made out of titanium with a bismuth hydroxide powdercoating. At deployment they get their impetus, and they just glide back and forth, coming close enough to Bluetooth, and the bismuth keeps the sats apart?
@ Robot; You plagiarized Wowzers from Inspector Gadget, who is NOT actually a robot. Inspector Gadget is not supposed to be part of your hive mind. Not cool at all.
On the biodegradable electronics, a starting point could be electric eel cells and nerves. Is that eel using semiconductivity or superconductivity?
quasi, quasi, lol, I never said, I made up WoWzers,..... snort and inspector gadget is a cyborg I know, but a step towards the singularity, nice huh!
Why are you so nit-picky? No need to create arguments, I think you are a smart person and I appreciate your comments. Take care. ;)
Autopatching software would probably work by trying many different methods of hacking on the network and seeing which attempts work. Then, it can produce a patch to block that particular hack. It's the same principle of having to think like a hacker in order to stop one.
Auto patching software would be hacked and used to auto hack, or hide evidence of hacking. Best way to build one would be with a quantum computer, it could calculate all the vulnerablilties instantly. Might be unhackable , even with a quantum computer.
Put a terahertz scanner in a phone and we have a viable device that could read eeg's, just need the software.
Put an autohacker in a terahertz phone with a transmitter and you have a way to make people look schizophrenic.
The dive tech is nice and just around the corner.
Boosting wireless communications spectrum? boring.
Single crystal self assembly? happens in volcanoes.
Put a global pico sattelite interferometer network up for electro gravitic sensing? feasible and cheap (ish).