DARPA’s top 10 in­no­va­tions in 2013


Have a look back at the most pop­u­lar in­no­va­tions in 2013, based on web­page views of DARPA which are listed from No. 10 to 1.

10. Bet­ter Un­der­stand­ing of Hu­man Brain Sup­ports Na­tional Se­cu­rity

April 02, 2013—Today, at a White House event, the Pres­i­dent un­veiled a bold new re­search ini­tia­tive de­signed to rev­o­lu­tionise the un­der­stand­ing of the hu­man brain. As part of this ini­tia­tive, DARPA in­tends to in­vest roughly $50 mil­lion in 2014 with the goal of un­der­stand­ing the dy­namic func­tions of the brain and demon­strat­ing breakthrough ap­pli­ca­tions based on these in­sights.

9. Smaller Pix­els, Smaller Ther­mal Cam­eras for Warfight­ers

April 16, 2013—The mil­i­tary uses long-wave in­frared (LWIR) cam­eras as ther­mal im­agers to de­tect hu­mans at night. These cam­eras are usu­ally mounted on ve­hi­cles as they are too large to be car­ried by a sin­gle warfighter and are too ex­pen­sive for in­di­vid­ual de­ploy­ment.

8. This Web Fea­ture Will Dis­ap­pear in 5 Sec­onds

The so­phis­ti­cated elec­tron­ics used by warfight­ers in ev­ery­thing from ra­dios, re­mote sen­sors and even phones can now be made at such a low cost that they are per­va­sive through­out the bat­tle­field. These elec­tron­ics have be­come nec­es­sary for op­er­a­tions, but it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to track and re­cover ev­ery de­vice.

7. DARPA En­vi­sions the Fu­ture of Ma­chine Learn­ing

March 19, 2013—Ma­chine learn­ing – the abil­ity of com­put­ers to un­der­stand data, man­age re­sults, and in­fer in­sights from un­cer­tain in­for­ma­tion – is the force be­hind many re­cent rev­o­lu­tions in com­put­ing. E-mail spam fil­ters, smart­phone per­sonal as­sis­tants and self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles are all based on re­search ad­vances in ma­chine learn­ing.

6. Mem­bers of Top Nine Soft­ware Teams Move For­ward from DARPA’s Vir­tual Robotics Chal­lenge

June 27, 2013—The DARPA Robotics Chal­lenge (DRC) was cre­ated with a clear vi­sion: spur de­vel­op­ment of ad­vanced ro­bots that can as­sist hu­mans in mit­i­gat­ing and re­cov­er­ing from fu­ture nat­u­ral and man-made dis­as­ters. Dis­as­ters evoke pow­er­ful, phys­i­cal im­ages of de­struc­tion, yet the first event of the DRC was a soft­ware com­pe­ti­tion car­ried out in a vir­tual en­vi­ron­ment that looked like an ob­sta­cle course set in a sub­ur­ban area.

5. Fall­ing Up: DARPA to Launch Just-in-Time Pay­loads From Bot­tom of Sea

Jan­uary 11, 2013—Today, cost and com­plex­ity limit the Navy to fewer weapons sys­tems and plat­forms, so re­sources are strained to op­er­ate over vast mar­itime ar­eas. Un­manned sys­tems and sen­sors are com­monly en­vi­sioned to fill cov­er­age gaps and de­liver ac­tion at a dis­tance.

4. DARPA Ex­per­i­men­tal Air­craft Pro­gram to De­velop the Next-Gen­er­a­tion of Ver­ti­cal Flight

Fe­bru­ary 25, 2013—One of the great­est chal­lenges of the past half cen­tury for aero­dy­nam­ics en­gi­neers has been how to in­crease the top speeds of air­craft that take off and land ver­ti­cally without com­pro­mis­ing the air­craft’s lift to power in hover or its ef­fi­ciency dur­ing long-range flight. The ver­sa­til­ity of he­li­copters and other ver­ti­cal take-off and land­ing (VTOL) air­craft make them ideal for a host of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions.

3. War­rior Web Pro­to­type Takes its First Steps

May 22, 2013—A Soldier car­ries a 61-pound load while walk­ing in a pro­to­type DARPA War­rior Web sys­tem dur­ing an in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion by the US Army. War­rior Web seeks to create a soft, light­weight un­der-suit that would help re­duce in­juries and fa­tigue com­mon for Soldiers, who of­ten carry 100-pound loads for ex­tended pe­ri­ods over rough ter­rain.

2. New Nerve and Mus­cle In­ter­faces Aid Wounded War­rior Am­putees

May 30, 2013—Since 2000, more than 2,000 ser­vice mem­bers have suf­fered am­pu­tated limbs. DARPA’s breakthrough re­search with ad­vanced pros­thetic limbs con­trolled by brain in­ter­faces is well doc­u­mented, but such re­search is cur­rently limited to quadriplegics; prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions of brain in­ter­faces for am­putees are still in the fu­ture.

1. Ex­treme Minia­tur­i­sa­tion: Seven De­vices, One Chip to Nav­i­gate without GPS

April 10, 2013 – The US Mil­i­tary re­lies on the space-based Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tem (GPS) to aid air, land and sea nav­i­ga­tion. Like the GPS units in many au­to­mo­biles today, a sim­ple re­ceiver and some pro­cess­ing power is all that is needed for ac­cu­rate nav­i­ga­tion.

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