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Updated: 7 hours 52 min ago
For this 17- minute episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, we sat down with DARPA Director, Dr. Stefanie Tompkins, to discuss the agency's upcoming DARPA Forward regional event series. Held on leading research and development campuses throughout the United States and open to all, these conferences will connect DARPA leaders with new communities of talent and partnerships.
DARPA has selected 11 teams for Phase 1 of the Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, known as Space-BACN. Space-BACN aims to create a low-cost, reconfigurable optical communications terminal that adapts to most optical intersatellite link standards, translating between diverse satellite constellations. Space-BACN would create an "internet" of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, enabling seamless communication between military/government and commercial/civil satellite constellations that currently are unable to talk with each other.
The Defense Department and other federal agencies have sought advanced sources that generate gamma rays, X-rays, neutrons, protons, and electrons to enable a variety of scientific, commercial, and defense applications - from medical diagnostics, to scans of cargo containers for dangerous materials, to non-destructive testing of aircraft and their parts to see internal defects. But none of these sources can image through concrete walls several meters thick, map the core of a volcano from the outside, or peer deep underground to locate chambers and tunnels. For such imaging capabilities, a more powerful particle is needed.
In this approximately 17-minute episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, we explore the portfolio of cryptography expert, privacy advocate, and DARPA program manager, Dr. Joshua Baron. Baron details the possibilities - and potential pitfalls - of technologies such as zero knowledge proofs and blockchains. He also provides a sneak peek into new research that will preserve one's privacy by rapidly making complex computations on a mobile device.
DARPA's Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), a missile program conducted in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, completed another successful free flight in early July. This is the second demonstration vehicle built by Raytheon Technologies to meet test objectives. The first Raytheon flight was in September 2021. It was followed by success with a different contractor's vehicle configuration this past spring.
DARPA's Operational Fires (OpFires) program has successfully executed its first flight test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The OpFires system achieved all test objectives, including first ever use of a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) logistics truck as a medium-range missile launcher, missile canister egress, stable flight capture, and use of U.S. Army inventory artillery fire control systems to initiate the test mission. Lockheed Martin built the system, which includes a Northrop Grumman rocket motor, and conducted the test.
Seeking to revolutionize how the Department of Defense (DoD) objectively measures individual warfighter readiness, DARPA's newest biotechnology funding opportunity aims to develop a hand-held prediction tool for warfighter physiological states based on molecular biomarkers. The device developed under the Smart Non-invasive Assays of Physiology (SNAP) program would be readily configurable to diverse DoD needs for readiness assessment, training, and mission planning, thereby providing an individualized view into real-time warfighter performance state.
Researchers with DARPA's Machine Common Sense (MCS) program demonstrated a series of improvements to robotic system performance over the course of multiple experiments. Just as infants must learn from experience, MCS seeks to construct computational models that mimic the core domains of child cognition for objects (intuitive physics), agents (intentional actors), and places (spatial navigation).
Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchains, has become more prevalent across a variety of contexts over the past decade. The premise is that blockchains operate securely without any centralized control and that they are immutable or unsusceptible to change.
In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast series, we discuss DARPA's Influence Campaign Awareness and Sensemaking (INCAS) program. Adversaries exploit misinformation and true information through compelling narratives propagated on social media and online content. INCAS seeks new tools to help analysts quickly identify geopolitical influence campaigns amidst today's noisy information environment and find better ways to determine the impacts of such propaganda.
DARPA has selected three research teams to work toward development of comprehensive, enduring solutions to mitigate coastal flooding, erosion, and storm damage that increasingly threaten civilian and Department of Defense (DoD) infrastructure and personnel. Despite previous efforts to implement storm mitigation solutions ?? including concrete breakwaters ?? damage due to storm surge and flooding continues to devastate coastal areas around the world. In response to these threats, DARPA has launched the Reefense program to develop self-healing, hybrid biological, and engineered reef-mimicking structures to address the challenges.
DARPA has selected multiple teams of university researchers for the Recycling at the Point of Disposal (RPOD) program. RPOD will evaluate the technical feasibility of recovering multiple low-volume fraction critical elements present in end-of-life electronics hardware (e-waste). The program seeks to develop small-footprint platforms with greatly reduced energy consumption and waste generation in the extraction process.
Despite recent improvements to machine learning (ML) algorithms and assurance technologies, high levels of autonomy still remain elusive.
Military personnel face a high risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI), resulting in debilitating long-term burden that impacts not only the warfighter but also families, friends and the healthcare infrastructure. Current interventions rely solely on physical protection measures, such as armored vehicles and bulky helmets and treatments are limited to physical and/or psychological rehabilitation protocols with limited success. DARPA's Cornerstone program aims to develop safe and effective integrated countermeasures to prevent brain injury.
The radio frequency (RF) spectrum environment is rapidly evolving. To achieve superiority in electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) operations in the modern era - including over adversaries gaining ground in the domain - requires higher-level performance and flexibility in critical elements. One area of priority: heightened multifunctionality and granular optimization in Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESAs).
DARPA has selected three teams for the Mission-Integrated Network Control (MINC) program. MINC's objective is to ensure that critical data finds a path to the right user at the right time in highly contested, highly dynamic communication environments using secure control of any available communications or networking resources.
In the latest episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, we're discussing "The Future of Food: Meals from Microbes."
DARPA has launched the Liberty Lifter project to demonstrate a leap in operational logistics capabilities by designing, building, and flying a long-range, low-cost X-plane capable of seaborne strategic and tactical lift. The new vehicle concept seeks to expand upon existing cargo aircraft by proving revolutionary heavy air lift abilities from the sea.
Mission success can come down to mere millionths or billionths of a second and current military systems that rely on global positioning system (GPS) timing updates are inherently vulnerable. Though GPS is a revolutionary capability, it is unreliable underground or underwater and can be degraded or unavailable due to adversarial signal jamming.
DARPA has selected six teams of industry and university researchers for the Morphogenic Interfaces (MINT) program. MINT aims to enhance the performance and persistence of batteries, anti-corrosion coatings, and other electrochemical systems that power and protect critical Department of Defense hardware and platforms.