Back in June, after installing a new lithium-ion battery into its ape-inspired RoboSimian and plugging it into charge, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory had their lunches cut short when the battery suddenly exploded in a spectacular fireball that completely torched the bot.
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DARPA, the agency that helped invent things like email in the early 1970s and the internet itself in the late 1960s, just launched a podcast. Podcasts have been around since the 2000s, but better late than never, I guess.
After losing his left arm to cancer in 2008, Jonny Matheny's life changed radically. The self-styled West Virginia hillbilly, formerly a retail bread sales and delivery man, started travelling to medical research facilities around the country to volunteer as a test-subject for advanced prosthetics and experimental surgeries. Today, Matheny is something of a Model T for cyborgs, wielding one of the most advanced mind-controlled prosthetics ever built.
Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics far more quickly than humans are discovering new ones. That's why a DARPA-funded research team is exploring a fascinating new way we might win the war against germs: not with drugs, but with predatory bacteria that sound like monsters from science fiction.
When I asked Johnny Matheny if I could shake his hand, I was admittedly a little nervous. The soft-spoken Floridian lost his lower left arm to cancer eight years back. His new arm — an advanced, mind-controlled prosthetic developed by DARPA — can crush a human human skull like a child squeezing a mandarin.
Producing drugs is usually a time-consuming process that requires several large factories, each handling a different step in the process. But for smaller on-demand batches, MIT has developed a portable pharmacy that's only about the size of a commercial-grade fridge and promises much faster turnarounds.
Founded in 1958 to prevent technological surprises such as Sputnik, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency funds projects that are both outside the box and off the wall. Although DARPA gave us the Internet and GPS, plenty of its blue-sky ideas have crashed back down to Earth. Here are ten of them.
Back when Alphabet was known as Google, the company bought Boston Dynamics, makers of the amazingly advanced robot named Atlas. At the time, Google promised that Boston Dynamics would stop taking military contracts, as it often did. But here's the open secret about Atlas: She can enlist in the US military at any time she wants.
It's been a weird day for weird science. Not long after researchers claimed victory in performing a head transplant on a monkey, the US military's blue-sky R&D agency announced a completely insane plan to build a chip that would enable the human brain to communicate directly with computers. What is this weird, surreal future?
The DARPA Robotics Challenge put countless robots through a series of real-world challenges that involved driving, drilling holes and climbing stairs. But let's be realistic, the only thing any of us really want a robot for is housework, and that's what ATLAS is finally learning.