What is DARPA and What it Does

If you ever wondered what agency could potentially end the world as we know it, then you wouldn’t have to look further than DARPA. DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. Quite a mouthful, huh? As intimidating as the name is though, what the agency does is even more discerning. Its main purpose for existing is for the advancement of military technology so the U.S.A. is always ahead of its enemies. Doesn’t sound like much? Here are a few end-of-days projects DARPA is dealing with at the moment.

A $3 Billion Budget

With a staff of just 240 individuals and without the conventional limitations of other military research and development, DARPA only reports directly to the senior management of the Department of Defense. That tagline description almost sounds like an intro to a Tom Clancy novel. With a roster of current projects that includes brain implants and Atomic GPS, it could also be a megalomaniac villain from a Fleming’s James Bond novel, too.

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The Cyber Grand Challenge

If you’ve seen Terminator, you probably know about Skynet’s role in destroying humanity. If not, let me give you a light synopsis: Skynet is self-aware defense network, which at some point decided that humans are a threat and took control of nuclear weapons, set them off and killed a huge part of the population. DARPA has basically announced their intention to create just that. It wants participating teams to create a defense network that will be completely self-assessing and self-repairing that will automatically defend itself against electronic intrusion.

Image source: Wallpaper Abyss

More kill-y bullets

The problem with bullets is that once they’re shot, there isn’t much that can change their trajectory. This hasn’t of course inhibited said straight-shooting bullets from killing millions of people. On occasion though, these bullets have missed their mark, and DARPA doesn’t like that. So, at the moment, they are developing a bullet that can correct its course to a laser-targeted target. I never thought I’d see the day when military applications would be inspired by cartoon physics. This reminds me of the bullets that shoot out of Yosemite Sam’s gun, screech to a halt midair, and do a complete 180 to follow their target (usually Bugs Bunny). Oh, maybe I should mention that the Pentagon has already conducted a successful live-fire testing of said cartoonish bullets.


I’m starting to have the rising suspicion that DARPA scientists sit around and watch 80s cartoons all day. As if something straight out the Transformers cartoons, DARPA is developing jet fighters mounted with anti-missile systems. The defense system will be able to automatically target and neutralize (see destroy in huge midair fireballs) land-to-air missiles.



With this project, DARPA intends on giving soldiers the ability to climb walls. I am not even joking, DARPA is actually pretty close to application, too. A material called GeckSkin (based on geckos’ ability to stick to and climb up virtually any surface) held up a 660 lb. static weight while stuck to glass. Dude, what is going on over at DARPA? Is their main idea guy an 8-year-old cracked out on sugar and fruit punch?

Flying Truck

Well, apparently my speculation about little 8-year-old Davie being DARPA’s lead design manager is probably true. Coined as a dual-mode vehicle, it’s basically a flying car. Seriously, I’m sh*tting you not.


Image source: Jalopnik

So what cartoonish technology do you think DARPA will come up with next? Maybe a triceratops with back-mounted lasers and a wrecking ball for a tail? We can only hope.




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