What's next for DARPA, the Pentagon's beleaguered research and development arm?DARPA has taken heat recently for controversial projects like the Policy Analysis Market (an online trading floor dealing in the possibility of terrorist attacks), LifeLog (an all-encompassing, uber-diary effort) and Combat Zones that See (a surveillance network designed to put an entire city under watch).Now, Associated Press writer -- and Defense Tech pal -- Mike Sniffen looks at what's ahead for the agency. Those new projects include:
-Studying the feet of geckos, the tiny lizards with adhesive discs on their toes. The goal: to build small, legged robots that can climb walls.-Studying hibernating Arctic ground squirrels, who quickly regrow synapses that support memory, and whales and dolphins, which put half their brain to sleep while the other half surfaces them to breathe. The goal is to determine how to keep soldiers awake seven days straight without fatigue or mental impairment.-(Developing) a system of brain sensors and mechanics that allows a monkey to move a remote robot arm just by thinking of doing it.