Showing posts with label Darpa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Darpa. Show all posts

Aug 31, 2018

Eight DARPA Facts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is sixty years old as of 2018. Below are some favorite DARPA facts.

  1. The original sketch of ARPANET fits on a napkin.
  2. In August 1962, J.C.R Licklider published a paper titled “On-Line Man Computer Communication,” which detailed a connected global network. Less than two months later, Licklider was appointed as director of the new Information Processing Techniques Office, or IPTO at ARPA, as it was called back then. His brief was to create a network to connect Department of Defense computers at three isolated locations.
  3. By the end of the decade, the first host-to-host connection between computers on the new Arpanet was established at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 29. 1969, creating the world’s first fully operational packet-switching network. By December, a four-node network was up and running.
  4. The first email was sent across it in 1972.
  5. In the summer of 1979, a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, funded by DARPA, demonstrated the interactive Aspen Movie Map on videodisc. The map let users travel through the city of Aspen, Colorado, virtually. Additionally, the map included the ability to view how historic buildings looked like in the past. (Think Google maps.)
  6. The voice-recognition system embedded in many smartphones was born out of DARPA research. DARPA has been researching the concept of voice recognition combined with artificial intelligence since 2003. The goal of the research is to provide translation of foreign languages by service members deployed to foreign countries.
  7. Nearly every automaker now offers a self-driving car and it all started with a contest held by DARPA in 2004. Anyone could enter. Their vehicle must be self-driven. The fastest vehicle to make it safely through 300 miles of desert wins a $1 million prize.
  8. As part of its Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or EXACTO program, DARPA developed a .50-caliber ammunition that can maneuver in flight. A bullet that can change direction after it has been fired from a weapon. It uses a “real-time optical guidance system” that tracks and directs the bullets to intended targets, ensuring the high accuracy rate of snipers regardless of external factors that could affect the trajectory of the bullet, such as weather or target movement.

Feb 8, 2013

Super Camera

DARPA has released more details on the ARGUS-IS, a 1.8-gigapixel camera that will be attached to unmanned drones to spot targets as small as six inches at an altitude of 20,000 feet. The camera – which is one of the highest resolution systems in the world – can view ten square miles of terrain at a time and zoom in on targets with surprising clarity.

The camera uses 368 five-megapixel camera sensors aimed through a telescopic array to pick out birds in flight and humans on the move on the Earth’s surface. ARGUS stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System.

Feb 26, 2010


Talk into your iPhone and tell Siri what you want. Tickets for a show, reservations at a restaurant, a taxi to pick you up. Siri can arrange to get you what you need. Best of all, Siri learns what you want, and gets better at understanding your commands, just like a human assistant.

It was originally developed as part of DARPA’s CALO project and represents more than five years of research and refinement. The App is sophisticated enough to filter through a sentence and identify the relevant key words and know what to do. It understands to use GPS to determine what “in your area” means. It can handle most any command for six broad categories of interest: restaurants, movies, events, taxis, local information, and weather. Oh, did I mention it is free?
It can understand complicated commands that use unspecific key words. “I’d like a PG-13 movie near my house that’s funny and romantic.” Siri can handle that by using its patented algorithm to learn how to translate words and phrases into commands.

The Siri company has more than $24 million in funding and has plans to expand to include reminders, flight stats, reference questions, and many more tasks. It is currently only available for iPhone 3GS with OS 3.1, but it will eventually be offered for iPod Touch, iPhone 3G, and other smart phones.  I love technology.