More DARPA Project Highlights for 2011

There are 522 pages of unclassified DARPA projects for 2010-2011. This is a second look at more of the projects.

The first look at DARPA 2010-2011 projects is here

Transformer (TX) Vehicle AKA flying car
($12 million) The Transformer (TX) Vehicle program will examine the feasibility and approaches for developing vertical take-off and landing, road-worthy vehicles that carry a 4-person payload >250 NM on one tank of fuel, can safely travel on roads, and can be operated by a typical soldier.

FY 2010 Plans:
– Conduct trade studies of vehicle designs, lift motors, flight dynamics and control, energy conversion
and storage, vehicle architectures, and concepts of operation.
– Initiate preliminary design studies.
– Conduct risk reduction experiments and modeling to validate designs.

JOULE AKA Ten times Higher Density Batteries
($4 million) The JOULE program will exploit new architectures, reversible electrode structures, materials, and chemistries for the development of rechargeable, high energy density batteries that match or exceed
energy density of hydrocarbon fuels (e.g. gasoline, JP8, etc.). Three-dimensional structures with very high surface areas for electrodes will
increase the power density of these batteries. The program will develop new chemistries for positive electrodes to demonstrate reversibility in the graphite fluorite (a high-voltage, high-capacity material) class of positive electrode materials in reversible batteries for the first time. The energy density will increase over ten-fold current lithium ion batteries commonly in use.

FY 2011 Base Plans:
– Investigate chemistry and materials to enable rechargeable high energy density batteries.

Blood Pharming
($4.1 million) The overall Blood Pharming program objective is to develop an automated culture and packaging system that yields transfusable levels of universal donor red blood cells (RBCs) from progenitor cell sources. The goal of the Phase II effort is to produce 100 units of universal donor (Type O negative) RBCs per week for eight weeks in an automated closed culture system using a renewing progenitor population.

FY 2009 Accomplishments:
– Demonstrated greater than or equal to two million-fold expansion from progenitor source to mature RBC.
– Demonstrated characteristic functions of RBC (oxygen binding/release, enzyme content, size, deformability) in vitro.
– Developed strategies for production of ten RBC units per week for four weeks in an automated closed culture system using a non-renewing (replaceable) progenitor cell population.

FY 2010 Plans:
– Demonstrate production of 10 RBC units per week for four weeks in an automated closed culture system using a renewable progenitor cell population.
– Demonstrate one billion-fold expansion of progenitor population to mature RBCs.
– Demonstrate magnetic isolation of mature enucleated RBCs at a rate greater than one million cells per second.

FY 2011 Base Plans:
– Demonstrate immunogenicity of bioreactor-developed RBCs in an in vivo model.
– Demonstrate efficacy of bioreactor-developed RBCs as a transfusion product in an in vivo trauma model.

Tactical Biomedical Technologies
($19.6 million) The Tactical Biomedical Technologies thrust will develop new approaches to deliver life-saving medical care on the battlefield.

FY 2010 Plans:
– Demonstrate in vivo induction of restorative skeletal muscle repair by transplant of induced pluripotent cells.
– Determine transition kinetics from joint formation to bone morphogenic protein-2 (BMP-2)-induced long bone restoration.
– Develop a material that can be delivered to a closed, intracavity space and binds specifically to damaged tissue as demonstrated in situ by immunohistology.
– Demonstrate that hemostatic material does not induce intracavity scar formation within 28 days when left at the wound site.
– Build and demonstrate an automated laboratory prototype DBAC system.
– Optimize automated algorithms for bleeder detection, localization, coagulation, and cuff control with in vivo models.
FY 2011 Base Plans:
– Demonstrate compatibility with FDA-approved agents that control pain, infection, and inflammation.
– Achieve wound treatment system unit specs including coverage of at least 0.20 square meters of tissue area, mass of less than 200 grams, and a volume less than 150 ml.
– Demonstrate hemostasis in less than four minutes on a high-pressure non-compressible injury model.
– Maintain hemostasis in high pressure model for three hours.
Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET)
($20 million) The goal of the Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program is to develop technology needed to reliably extract information from the nervous system, and to do so at a scale and rate necessary to control many degree-of-freedom (DOF) machines, such as high-performance prosthetic limbs.

FY 2010 Plans:
– Advance peripheral nervous system (PNS) interface technology to increase the channel count and hence neural information content, while not compromising the existing long-term reliability capability.
– Perform fundamental tissue-response-assessment experiments using both existing and new central nervous system (CNS) interface technology.
– Develop statistically validated models of electrode channel loss as well as methods to predict longterm interface failure.

FY 2011 Base Plans:
– Advance CNS interface technology to increase its functional lifetime, while not compromising their ability to obtain large amounts of neural information.
– Demonstrate advanced Reliable CNS Interface (RCI) technology in models with systems that have at least 100 channels and do not lose more than 1% of the channels per year.

Revolution in Fiber Lasers (RIFL)
($5.4 million) The goal of the Revolution in Fiber Lasers (RIFL) program is to develop multi-kilowatt, singlemode, narrow line fiber laser amplifiers using efficient, high brightness laser diode pump arrays. These narrowline fiber laser amplifiers can then be coherently combined to develop ultra-high power

FY 2010 Plans:
– Demonstrate and test 15% efficient, single mode, single polarization, coherently combinable fiber laser amplifiers with near diffraction-limited beam quality at 1kW power level.

FY 2011 Base Plans:
– Demonstrate and test 30% efficient, single mode, single polarization, coherently combinable fiber laser amplifiers with near diffraction-limited beam quality at 3kW power level.

Training Superiority
($8.4 million) The Training Superiority program will change the paradigm for military training by creating new approaches to increase technical competence.

FY 2010 Plans:
– Develop the underlying engine and the hardware/software architecture necessary to create large
scale Digital Tutor system, with focus on scaling, capacity and performance.
– Elaborate intrinsic, instrumental and extrinsic motivation models in order to maintain student motivation over two months of instruction demonstrated over one week.
– Port two months of Navy IT-School content from a human-tutored course to the Digital Tutor.
– Create an automatic capability to identify students requiring remediation.
– Develop methodology for establishing correspondence between Digital Tutor content/training and existing Navy curriculum, to facilitate transition of Digital Tutor to Navy Schoolhouse.

FY 2011 Base Plans:
– Extend Natural Language Understanding to encompass the full range of the IT domain.
– Create a semantic model, abstractions, and Application Program Interface (API) that allows Socratic dialogs capable of handling large number of semantic responses rather than a predefined set of answers.
– Complete full sixteen weeks of content and integrate results of theoretical work.
– Demonstrate deployment to pier-side and harden the system (full course).
– Establish effectiveness of Digital Tutor system in creating Mastery-level students by conductingsecond IWARs competition between Digital Tutor trained students and Navy-selected Fleet experts.

High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS)
($11.5 + $25 million) The goal of the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program is to develop a high-energy laser weapon system (150 kW) with an order of magnitude reduction in weight compared to existing laser systems. With a weight goal of