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DARPA may not be a household name, but if like me you are tech savvy or totally obsessed about tech gadgets, then chances are that you have come across the name – DARPA. It may not be glorified frequently or given the credit it deserves but the truth remains that without DARPA reading this right now on the internet would be virtually impossible. Back in school we all probably heard of the ARPANET – that geeky start-up that went all crazy, got drunk and exploded into the almighty internet. Well, the brain behind ARPANET is DARPA, and you should probably send them a shout out, at least the grateful ones.
We all know the Russians have been a pain in the ass for the yanks, good thing it started quite a long time ago. President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States founded DARPA in 1958 in response to the Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik, which, according to DARPA itself, signaled that “a fundamental change was needed in America’s defense science and technology programs.” The are quite a lot of innovative technology that has been birthed by DARPA , but in the geek world they are most (in)famously known for developing terrifying gadgets, advanced weapons and futuristic tech.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -DARPA

What Makes DARPA different

There quite a lot Defense Research Agencies world over, but what makes DARPA different from most of them is perhaps their sheer disregard for the “world peace” aagenda. Though most of its advanced military research Intel are far from the public domain, but the few made public are quite unnerving. We will save the “anti world peace” gadgets for another day, and look at the human friendly ones. Some of them include the four-legged Cheetah, which later became known as WildCat, that can sprint so fast it makes Usain Bolt look like a learner. BigDog a DARPA-funded project is also a four-legged machine designed to traverse tricky terrains while carrying heavy supplies and equipments.
big dog
The big dog is four-legged machine designed to traverse tricky terrains while carrying heavy loads like supplies and equipments.
Image credit: DARPA / Facebook

Today we use online repositories at will, getting books for academic research or other purposes is almost 50 times easier than it were before the advent of digital libraries. This digital libraries make it easier for people to find relevant books –
specifically, books they wouldn’t find any other way such as those that are out of print – while carefully respecting authors’ and publishers’ copyrights. Just like most project that have potential military applications, DARPA funded research on digital libraries from as early as 1994 even before online repositories likes Google’s bookstore were set up. So the next time you use digital libraries, you might want to know that DARPA made that possible.

DARPA’s also funding several projects that deal with medical technology. Notably among them is a brain implant to help with psychological issues soldiers usually deal with, such as PTSD and extreme depression. Another one’s attempting to cook up some sort of liquid-to-foam substance that will stop bleeding instantly. In other words, the division’s heavily investing in medical technology for the military, though it will some out turn up for civilian use, sooner than later.

DARPA has developed technology to enable humans crawl on walls like spiderman
Image credit: theghostdairies.com

DARPA is like the Crazy science division of the Pentagon with most of its projects and gadgets easily dismissed as ‘another science fiction’. Between 1976 and 1981, DARPA’s major projects were dominated by air, land, sea, and space technology, tactical armor and anti-armor programs, infrared sensing for space-based surveillance, high-energy laser technology for space-based missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, advanced cruise missiles, advanced aircraft, and defense applications of advanced computing. Some of its crazier projects include developing the technology to climb walls like Spider-Man, as well as designing stealthy hybrid bikes for covert operations. Continue reading about DARPA’S crazy gadgets