Better armor, better robots and other DARPA projects for 2014

DARPA has its budget for 2014.

DARPA has several projects related cyber warfare defense and offense. (Big data and social network analysis, various cyber security research projects)
DARPA has a lot of projects related to medical care for wounded soldiers (better prosthetics)
DARPA has projects to rapidly detect, diagnose and counter biological attacks.
DARPA has several projects related to additive or rapid manufacturing (FANG, META, Materials Processing and Manufacturing)

Project Endurance – pod mounted lasers for drones and planes
FY 2013 13.5 million
FY 2014 23.5 million

The Endurance program will develop technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy EO/IR guided surface-to-air missiles.

Multifunctional Materials and Structures

FY 2013 18 million
FY 2014 24 million

Included in this thrust are efforts that will lower the weight and increase the performance of aircraft, enhance the efficiency of turbines, and improve the performance of surface dominated properties (friction, wear, and membrane permeability). New materials synthesis processes for thin films will also be explored to extend equipment lifetime and reduce logistics costs. In addition, reactive structures that can serve as both structure and explosive will be developed to decrease the weight and increase the performance of munitions

Materials for Force Protection to make armor 50% better in 2014

FY 2013 25.5 million
FY 2014 25.1 million

The Materials for Force Protection thrust is developing novel materials and materials systems that will greatly enhance protection against ballistic, blast, and explosively formed projectile (EFP) threats across the full spectrum of warfighter environments. Included in this thrust are novel topological concepts as well as entirely new structural designs that will afford enhanced protection and functionality, at reduced weight and/or cost.

– Integrate material properties and energy management mechanisms into ballistic armor materials optimized for single threat defeat in each regime (bullet, frag, EFP) to meet survivability objectives.
– Demonstrate at least 50% enhancement in opaque vehicle ballistic armor performance in each regime (bullet, frag, EFP) for single threats over state-of-the-art fielded designs.
– Based on single threat results, conduct study to establish feasibility of achieving 50% enhancement in opaque vehicle ballistic armor performance for multiple threats.
– Continue to identify and evaluate promising new armor concepts from non-traditional organizations both for military personnel and vehicles.

Reconfigurable Structures – Humanoid robots for climbing and other uses

FY 2013 20.5 million
FY 2014 20.7 million

FY 2014 Plans:
– Complete design of actuation system for a humanoid robot, including bench-top testing of high-risk components and/or subsystems.
– Demonstrate actuation of a humanoid robot that increases its energy efficiency by 20x, using the same kinematic structure, energy source, computing, and low-level control software.
– Demonstrate advanced energy-efficiency improvement actuation approaches by quantitative analysis and/or simulation.
– Validate advanced energy-efficiency improvement actuation approaches by experiment

Functional Materials and Devices (10X Automatic zoom and other visualization gadgets)

FY 2013 10 million
FY 2013 19 million

FY 2013 Plans:
– Evaluate processes for integrating nano-polarizers with rigid gas permeable contact lenses.
– Demonstrate and conduct user testing of 2.8x contact lens binocular telescope.
– Demonstrate and conduct user testing of low profile heads-up display components.
– Demonstrate wide field of view compact camera components with low size, weight, and power.
– Demonstrate software design components supporting the joint optimization of optical and algorithms degrees of freedom.
– Demonstrate algorithms for computer-enhanced vision in conjunction with low size, weight, and power micro-cameras.
FY 2014 Plans:
– Demonstrate and conduct user testing of 10x hands free zoom capability.
– Demonstrate and conduct user testing of fully integrated heads-up display with eye tracking.
– Integrate and test of wide field of view compact camera with gaze-following foveation.
– Demonstrate integrated software environment for computational imaging.

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