Thursday, May 15, 2008

DARPA at 50: Success, Failure, and Promise

THe agency which originated the Internet turns 50 this year. As this article describes, DARPA has had its share of failures and abandoned programs. However, it's one of the few Federal agencies where a reasonable degree of failure is understood to be acceptable. This article chronicles DARPA's pioneering work, from satellite navigation to stealth aircraft, and its less-remembered projects, like the idea of a "mechanical elephant" to transport troops through the jungles of Vietnam. Also covered are idea in development and testing, from autonomous vehicles to synthetic versions of gecko feet that would let soldiers climb walls.

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