Darpa stories

 
Regina Dugan, formerly director of DARPA and now with Google, gave a TEDTalk on failure that just came online. That's great, but there's also new video of some of DARPA's coolest projects (like its hypersonic Mach 20 aircraft) included in the talk and that alone makes watching it worthwhile.
 
DARPA, which DVICE readers will know from the agency's endearingly insane projects (see here, here and here), wants to send up a swarm of short-lived, rapidly produced satellites to allow for more extensive air surveillance alongside — or even in lieu of — manned recon aircraft and unmanned drones.
 
If you've ever seen a gecko, you've probably noticed how excellent they are at not falling off of things. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have managed to create an adhesive based on gecko toes that works nearly as well as the real thing, and an index card of this stuff is powerful enough to stick you and six* of your most daring friends directly to a sheet of glass.
 
A new generation of robots has just grown a 'tails' thanks to inspiration from the lizard. A research team at the University of California, Berkeley, funded in part by the Army Research Laboratory, observed the stabilizing effect a lizard's tail has on its body when scrambling and leaping through its habitat and have added tails to their robots to achieve a similar effect.
 
DARPA is funding the research of miniature cameras and microphones that could be mounted like backpacks on beetles-turned-spies. That's not even the best part — the sensors will be powered by an insect's own wing movements, meaning fully independent insects able to explore the world's most dangerous places.

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