DARPA, the military’s mad science division, is also a master of PR, we all cheer them on, even though they may be building a robot army that one day hunts us down. But the robots have become a cliche, of course. DARPA was actually founded to “prevent technological surprises” of any kind after the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957. As a result, it also supports beneficial projects only peripherally related to defense, like Ebola research, brain-controlled prosthetics and space exploration.
Pentagon’s main innovation unit is looking for promising ideas that would help thwart infectious disease outbreaks, including Ebola epidemic that already claimed almost 5,000 lives out of 13,241 officially confirmed cases worldwide. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Pentagon’s research organization tasked with developing advanced military technology has announced a tender for innovative research proposals of interest to the Biological Technologies Office (BTO). “BTO is interested in a range of emerging technical areas, including but not limited to human-machine interfaces, human performance, infectious disease, and synthetic biology. The overarching goal is to develop, demonstrate, and transition biologically-based technologies as part of the national security toolkit,” the solicitation reads. The Pentagon’s technology arm is prepared to invest up to $700,000 in a promising idea that shows potential in “revolutionary advances in science, technologies, or systems.” It calls on scientists to “radically change established practice.”