Jeff Krichmar, a neuroroboticist at UC Irvine, isn't directly involved with the HBP ("I'm envious," he admits), but he predicts that the initiative will have a seismic impact on the relatively new field of neurorobotics, and the even newer pursuit of neuromorphic circuits, that mimic the structure and functionality of our own neural equipment in order to boost processing performance. Krichmar previously worked on DARPA's SyNAPSE program, which included creating synaptic connections between neurons. The HBP's goal of making not just a virtual brain, but brain-like components for real, servo-packing robots, could usher in an unprecedented degree of autonomy and competence. "Robotic systems have made huge progress over the years, but they're still very much brittle things, and tied to doing one task a time," says Krichmar. A bot with a biological processing architecture, on the other hand, like what the project hopes to make possible by or near the end of its 10-year run, could adapt to new roles and situations, actively learning from mistakes instead of simply recovering from them. "This work will give us much better robots than anything currently out there," says Krichmar.