Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Slate: Cool/weird/worrying DARPA stuff

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-08-09

DARPA, for all their evil ends, do come up with cool stuff.  (The DARPA formerly known as ARPA came up with the internet formerly known as ARPANET).

A Slate post goes over some recent DARPA gadgets that include the cool and/or weird (although the electrode-controlled moth is a bit of a worry when you think about where DARPA is headed with this technology).

But I’d like to try the Powerswim for myself, and the Robotic wall-climbing gecko would be a cool toy for my grandson when he is a bit older (and if you got it some skin, a friendly face, and use this as the controller)!  Come to think of it, being able to remote control a live moth around a room is sickly-appealing, and a big refinement on the old trick of hooking up batteries to the peripheral nerves of a pithed toad.

The "gecko" climbs a wall:
DARPA gecko

The "cyborg moth":
DARPA cyborg moth


3 Responses to “Slate: Cool/weird/worrying DARPA stuff”

  1. Big science rocks!

    The military seems to produce a lot of great stuff, including technologies for non-military purposes. Perhaps a sad reflection on humanity that one of our leading producers of innovative technology is the war machine.

    A little known extra ‘benefit’ that society gets from the war machine is free researched and released technologies. Australian Defence is quite bad at managing it’s IP. So industry basically gets a hand along for free.

    But I ain’t complainin’! It’s a great livin’!

  2. Dave Bath said


    You wouldn’t be living in SA by any chance?

    Australia generally is shocking at managing IP, and intellectually challeging and interesting defence jobs are underpaid, even if you are not compensated for the need to keep your mouth shut and occasionally sell your soul.

    I’ve some discussion of underpayment as part of this post.

  3. Nope, I’m in the ACT. But I’m also in Adelaide at least once a month for DSTO, ARDU et al. It’s got to the point that I know so many people there I’m now making social trips when there is no work committment.

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