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Bio Official account of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Smaller. Lighter. Faster. Smarter. Our engineers have been hard at work refining software and adapting commercially available sensors to enable small UAVs to autonomously navigate unknown environments. Operating as part of human-machine teams, smart UAVs could scout an area and report back to a squad without putting humans at risk. Why autonomy? According to the program manager, unmanned systems equipped with these algorithms need no remote pilot, no GPS guidance, no communications link, and no pre-programmed map of an area to operate. The onboard software, lightweight processor, and low-cost sensors do all of the work in real-time. And because the system doesn't require a communications link back to its base, the chances of an adversary detecting troop presence based on radio transmissions is reduced. There would be similar applications in disaster zones, where FLA-equipped UAVs could survey damaged buildings to evaluate risks to first responders.

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We're into Day 2 of our Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) Summit in San Francisco, where leaders of the electronics community have convened to discuss the future of the U.S. industry. On Day 1, we unveiled the teams selected by DARPA to take on six new ERI "Page 3" programs, while keynote speakers addressed the critical role public/private partnerships play in the innovation cycle. The "Page 3" programs are so named for their adherence to the guidance shared by Gordon Moore on the third page of his seminal 1965 research paper that articulated the technology trend that became known as Moore's Law. First, although Moore could not have foreseen the extent to which his observations on transistor scaling would be stretched, he predicted even then that newly designed automation procedures would be needed to lay out circuits too complex for manual design. In response, the ERI "Page 3" Design programs seek to answer this question: Can we dramatically lower the barriers to modern System-on-Chip design and unleash a new era of circuit and system specialization and innovation? Second, designed to fulfill the post-scaling predictions made by Moore, the ERI "Page 3" Architectures programs seek to answer: "Can we enjoy the benefits of specialized and application-reconfigurable circuitry while still relying on general programming constructs through integrated software/hardware co-design?" And third, Moore envisioned building larger circuitry functions out of smaller functional blocks as a means of overcoming limitations to scaling in electronics. With this notion in mind, the ERI "Page 3" Materials & Integration programs seek to answer this question: "Can we use the integration of unconventional electronics materials to enhance conventional silicon circuits and continue the progress in performance traditionally associated with scaling?" DARPA has selected research teams from academia, commercial industry, and the defense industrial base to take on these challenges.

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image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "The Fast Lightweight Autonomy program recently completed Phase 2 flight tests, demonstrating advanced algorithms designe" - 1826431745407708624
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The Fast Lightweight Autonomy program recently completed Phase 2 flight tests, demonstrating advanced algorithms designed to turn small air and ground systems into team members that can autonomously perform tasks dangerous for humans -- such as pre-mission reconnaissance in a hostile urban setting or searching damaged structures for survivors following an earthquake. The aerial tests showed significant progress in urban outdoor and indoor autonomous flight scenarios, including: 1) Flying at increased speeds between multi-story buildings and through tight alleyways while identifying objects of interest; 2) Flying through a narrow window into a building and down a hallway searching rooms and creating a 3-D map of the interior; and 3) Identifying and flying down a flight of stairs and exiting the building through an open doorway.

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We're one step closer to our vision of a reusable spaceplane following ten successful firings of the AR-22 engine in 240 hours! The team of DARPA, @NASAStennis, @Boeing Space, and @Aerojet_Rocketdyne proved that the propulsion system is ready for our Experimental Spaceplane program with its goal of on-demand space launch with rapid turnaround between launches.

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "We're firing the AR-22 engine for our Experimental Spaceplane program at @NASAStennis. @Boeing & @Aerojet_Rocketdyne are" - 1814719108143645789
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We're firing the AR-22 engine for our Experimental Spaceplane program at @NASAStennis. @Boeing & @Aerojet_Rocketdyne are helping us meet our goals of rapid access to space and resilient space operations.

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Throughout its history, DARPA has run a series of "x-plane" programs that have pushed the limits of aeronautics and given rise to powerful new flight capabilities and designs. At D60, DARPA's 60th anniversary symposium, a breakout session on x-planes will trace this evolution. Shown here, the X-29, the result of a joint effort by DARPA, the U.S. Air Force, NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, the Air Force Flight Test Center, and the Grumman Corporation. The program was managed by the Air Force's Wright Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The forward-swept wing of the X-29 was one of the most unusual designs in aviation history. The fighter-sized technology demonstrator also explored the use of advanced composites in aircraft construction; variable-camber wing surfaces; a thin, supercritical airfoil; strakes; close-coupled canards; and a computerized fly-by-wire flight control system used to maintain control of the otherwise unstable aircraft.

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Our Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program aims to improve mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without piling on armor. Recent demonstrations show progress on technologies for traveling quickly over varied terrain and improving situational awareness and ease of operation. Shown here, a morphing track-to-wheel technology developed by @CarnegieMellon's National Robotics Engineering Center that helps optimize mobility over different types of terrain -- wheels allow fast travel on hard surfaces, while tracks are better suited to soft ground. RWTs, as they're known, can change from wheel to track and back again within two seconds while the vehicle is in motion.

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program aims to improve mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness" - 1807552553152933040
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DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program aims to improve mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without piling on armor. Recent demonstrations show progress on technologies for traveling quickly over varied terrain and improving situational awareness and ease of operation. For instance, the high-travel suspension shown here extends up to 6'! It allows the vehicle to handle steep slopes and grades by actively and independently adjusting suspension on each wheel. Check out a video of this technology and more on YouTube (DARPAtv) or on darpa.mil. These demonstrations feature technologies developed for DARPA by: 1) Carnegie Mellon University, National Robotics Engineering Center 2) Honeywell International 3) Pratt & Miller 4) QinetiQ 5) Raytheon BBN Technologies.

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Our Make-It program is developing new software and hardware to speed the process of chemical synthesis and bring on-demand production of molecules to new locations and researchers. For the military, synthetic chemistry could yield novel propellants for spacecraft engines; new pharmaceuticals and medicines for troops in the field; lighter and longer-lasting batteries and fuel cells; advanced adhesives, coatings and paints; and less expensive explosives that are safer to handle. Researchers on Make-It have been successful in applying machine learning to the molecular synthesis process. Make-It software can recommend optimal synthesis pathways (i.e., the "recipe" to make a particular molecule), freeing actual chemists to focus on molecular discovery and innovation. Make-It hardware can then produce molecules on demand. The Make-It team includes researchers from the Massachusetts, Institute of Technology, SRI, Grzybowski Scientific Inventions, University of Glasgow, Purdue University, and Boston University. Images by @MITpics & SRI.

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It was three years ago today that a certain named DRC-Hubo won the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. Hubo completed a course filled with tasks approximating things a robot might have to do in a disaster-response situation. The robot's design allowed it to roll or walk depending on terrain, and that feature allowed Hubo to navigate the course with the winning time and earn the prize of $2 million for Hubo's developers at KAIST.

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "A new #podcast from @NotImpossible features Johnny Matheny and Justin Sanchez. Johnny is a volunteer on our Revolutioniz" - 1795047801756098514
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A new from @NotImpossible features Johnny Matheny and Justin Sanchez. Johnny is a volunteer on our Revolutionizing Prosthetics program and controls one of the world's most advanced prosthetic limbs using signals from his brain. Justin leads the RP program and envisions a future in which neural interfaces make it possible for humans to have a much richer, more natural connection to technology. Give their story a listen today at the link in our profile! Johnny started the Starfish Prosthetics Foundation to help make such high quality prosthetics more affordable. Visit www.starfishprosthetics.org/ to learn more. (Image: @JohnsHopkinsU Applied Physics Laboratory)

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "During the Vietnam War, the efficacy of nighttime aerial reconnaissance operations was diminished due to engine noise th" - 1781475137678513137
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During the Vietnam War, the efficacy of nighttime aerial reconnaissance operations was diminished due to engine noise that provided the enemy with advanced warning of approaching aircraft. With an eye to making quiet aircraft that could better serve this reconnaissance mission, ARPA funded the Lockheed Missile and Space Company to develop a quiet, propeller-driven aircraft. This fast-paced program quickly yielded a successful prototype, the QT-2, which in 1968 was deployed and proven in combat. The program transitioned to the U.S. Army, which sponsored a limited production of an advanced version of the quiet aircraft, the YO-3A.

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "At #wsjfuturefest, DARPA’s Justin Sanchez and Starfish Prosthetic Foundation’s Johnny Matheny not only talk about what’s" - 1776325128276633058
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At , DARPA’s Justin Sanchez and Starfish Prosthetic Foundation’s Johnny Matheny not only talk about what’s currently possible with neurotechnology, but also demonstrate it. Johnny wears a Modular Prosthetic Limb, developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, that he controls with nerve interfaces that transmit signals from his brain! The research was funded by DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program.

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "On May 19, 2018, @amhistorymuseum and @SI_Invention present Military Invention Day 2018, a celebration of defense-inspir" - 1770518976502678118
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On May 19, 2018, @amhistorymuseum and @SI_Invention present Military Invention Day 2018, a celebration of defense-inspired innovation. This event -- free and open to the public -- will feature a few DARPA technologies including the Ghostrider , pictured here. Ghostrider participated in DARPA's Grand Challenge, a competition among autonomous vehicles. It is now part of the Smithsonian collection. (Image: Smithsonian; NMAH-2008-28)

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "Our Gremlins program aims for airborne launch and recovery of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems. We look forwar" - 1761989201752372802
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Our Gremlins program aims for airborne launch and recovery of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems. We look forward to working with Defense Department integration partners to deliver new capabilities, and a Phase 3 contract to Dynetics furthers the cause. (Artist’s concept)

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "Ready! Launch! Repeat! The DARPA #LaunchChallenge, announced yesterday, aims to accelerate capabilities for industry to " - 1761057528999182167
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Ready! Launch! Repeat! The DARPA , announced yesterday, aims to accelerate capabilities for industry to deliver flexible and responsive launch solutions—promoting rapid access to space. The Challenge, with its $10 million top prize, is designed to address emerging Department of Defense needs for flexible and responsive space launch. That means being ready to launch payloads to orbit on short notice, with no prior knowledge of the payload, destination, or launch site. And then, do it all over again, quickly. DARPA is hosting a Competitors Day on May 23 to provide more details.

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, so take a minute to learn about the efforts of Claudia Mitchell, a @Marines veteran " - 1759568627449086430
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April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, so take a minute to learn about the efforts of Claudia Mitchell, a @Marines veteran and upper-limb amputee, who is participating in a cutting-edge research project run by @ClevelandClinic to restore touch sensation to users of prosthetic limbs. Claudia, an Arkansas native, lost her arm to a motorcycle crash. She tried other prosthetic limbs, but without sensation even managing simple tasks was a challenge. Now that she has sensors in her prosthesis connected to the nerves and muscles in her chest, she can control her new arm naturally and feel when her arm touches things. The research was funded by DARPA's RE-NET and HAPTIX programs. (Image: Cleveland Clinic)

image by DARPA (@darpa) with caption : "Coatings, thin films, and advanced surfaces contribute important properties to critical Department of Defense systems, d" - 1754494703719747056
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Coatings, thin films, and advanced surfaces contribute important properties to critical Department of Defense systems, devices, and technologies. However, the traditional processes for applying these coatings can be destructive to the substrate, requiring very high temperatures generated in a vacuum, and thus limiting applications. Our now-complete Local Control of Materials Synthesis (LoCo) program invested in new technologies for applying surface films and coatings. Program performer @SouthwestResearchInstitute developed new High-Power Impulse Plasma Source technology that can generate room-temperature plasmas for applying advanced coatings to materials without the need for vacuum chambers. Hi-PIPS, as it's known, can generate plasmas safe enough to touch, as shown here.