Featured News

2019/07/02 Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Threat Detectors Put through Paces at Indy 500

As some 300,000 cheering race fans packed the stands at this year’s Indianapolis 500, behind the scenes an advanced network of sensors kept constant vigilance, providing security officials real-time awareness of any potential weapon-of-mass-destruction/terror (WMD/WMT) threat. The deployment marked the first time that DARPA’s SIGMA+ network seamlessly integrated radiological and chemical sensors with biological threat sensors from the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. The joint DARPA-DHS sensor coverage demonstrated the powerful scaling capabilities of the SIGMA+ network. SIGMA+ expands on DARPA’s SIGMA program, which detects illicit radioactive and nuclear materials by incorporating sensors to identify chemical, biological, and explosi...

2019/06/14 Enabling Revolutionary Nondestructive Inspection Capability

X-rays and gamma rays have a wide range of applications including scanning suspicious maritime shipping containers for illicit materials, industrial inspection of materials and processes, and medical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Current technologies, however, are not ideal. X-rays produce a continuum of energies that limit their inspection and diagnostic performance, and gamma rays can only be produced at specific energies unique to a given radioactive isotope. DARPA today announced its Gamma Ray Inspection Technology (GRIT) program. GRIT seeks novel approaches to achieve high-intensity, tunable, and narrow-bandwidth sources of gamma ray radiation in a compact, transportable form factor that would enable a wide range of national security, industrial, and medical applications. A P...

2019/05/31 DARPA Announces ERI Summit 2019 Workshops

For the second year in a row, DARPA is convening the electronics community to discuss the ambitions and achievements of its five-year, upwards of $1.5 billion investment in U.S. microelectronics advancement. Attendees at the second annual Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) Summit – being held July 15-17 in Detroit, Michigan – will hear from commercial and defense leaders as they share their insights on the domestic semiconductor industry and the applications driving next-generation electronics. The Summit will close on July 17 with 11 public workshops designed to demonstrate program accomplishments, shape future areas of research, and provide insights into working with DARPA as well as transitioning technologies to use. “Continued collaboration across industry, defense, and academia i...

2019/05/21 Making DoD’s Vast Logistics Enterprise More Resilient

The Department of Defense (DoD)’s Joint Logistics Enterprise, which spans both supply chain and logistics operations, provides the means to muster, transport, and sustain military power anywhere in the world at a high level of readiness. To operate successfully in an increasingly contested global security environment, however, the logistics enterprise needs to change how it operates. In particular, the enterprise needs to overcome its reliance on thousands of disparate legacy information systems, which can’t provide the status of millions of military parts, supplies, and pieces of equipment, which are stocked and shipped around the world. To address this challenge, DARPA announced the LogX program with the goal to develop and demonstrate software for real-time logistics and supply chain sy...

2019/05/21 DARPA Identifies Teams Qualified to Compete in First Scored Event of SubT Challenge

Eleven teams from around the world will attempt to remotely map, identify, and report the greatest number of artifacts along the passages of a Pittsburgh research mine in the Subterranean Challenge Tunnel Circuit. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Mining Program manages the formerly operational mine, which will serve as the arena for the Systems event August 15-22, 2019. The Tunnel Circuit is the first of three circuits in which teams will test their systems and sensors in physical, representative subterranean courses. The Urban Circuit will take place in February 2020, followed by the Cave Circuit in August 2020. The Final Event incorporating all three subdomains will be in August 2021. Virtual competitions will take place concurrently with each of the physical com...

2019/05/20 Discover DSO Day Announced

DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO) will host Discover DSO Day (D3) on June 18, 2019, to facilitate discussion of technical research thrusts outlined in a new office-wide Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicitation expected in mid-June. Additionally, D3 will familiarize participants with DSO’s mission and streamlined business practices designed to simplify the proposal process and accelerate the timeline from idea approval to research start date. The event will take place in the DARPA Conference Center, Arlington, Virginia, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT, and the audio also will be webcast. Registration is required to attend in person or via webcast. One of six technical offices at DARPA, DSO identifies and pursues high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of ...

2019/05/03 A Scent-Based Strategy for Preventing Mosquito Transmission of Disease

Could it be that your scent is just a bit too attractive? It is known that mosquitoes are drawn to certain human chemical odors that lead the insects to sources of food. ReVector, a new program from DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, intends to diminish that attraction — or even actively repel mosquitoes — by engineering the skin microbiome to temporarily alter chemical production. By modulating the interaction of skin-associated microbes with metabolites from the body, ReVector technologies might lower the incidence of mosquito feeding and thus reduce the opportunity for the insects to transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue, and chikungunya that reduce military readiness. ReVector addresses a persistent need among U.S. military forces to protect against insect vectors of disease. ...

2019/05/03 Expediting Software Certification for Military Systems, Platforms

Military systems are increasingly using software to support functionality, new capabilities, and beyond. Before a new piece of software can be deployed within a system however, its functional safety and compliance with certain standards must be verified and ultimately receive certification. As the rapid rate of software usage continues to grow, it is becoming exceedingly difficult to assure that all software considered for military use is coded correctly and then tested, verified, and documented appropriately. “Software requires a certain level of certification – or approval that it will work as intended with minimal risks – before receiving approval for use within military systems and platforms,” said Dr. Ray Richards, a program manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O). “How...

2019/04/30 DARPA Tests Advanced Chemical Sensors

DARPA’s SIGMA program, which began in 2014, has demonstrated a city-scale capability for detecting radiological and nuclear threats that is now being operationally deployed. DARPA is building off this work with the SIGMA+ initiative that is focused on providing city- to region-scale detection capabilities across the full chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threat space. DARPA initiated a SIGMA+ pilot study last year known as ChemSIGMA to provide initial data and insights into how new chemical sensors using the existing SIGMA network would function. The chemical sensor package incorporates a chemical sensor, wind sensor and communications board into a weatherproof housing. Sensors report wind readings and real-time chemical information to a central cloud-hosted suite ...

2019/04/29 With Insights from Integration Exercise, SubT Challenge Competitors Prepare for Tunnel Circuit

Nine teams hailing from four continents gathered in Idaho Springs, Colorado, the week of April 5-11, 2019, to test autonomous air and ground systems for navigating the dark, dangerous, dirty, and unpredictable underground domain. The SubT Integration Exercise, known as STIX, took place at the Colorado School of Mines’ Edgar Experimental Mine. The event provided a shakeout opportunity for competitors in advance of the Tunnel Circuit in August, the first of three subdomains that teams will tackle in DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge. [embedded content] The teams were divided into three groups. Each group had one day to experiment with their various systems during multiple runs in the mine, followed by a second day in which each team attempted a one-hour mock, scored run. Teams could earn points...

2019/04/10 Three Teams Qualify to Compete in DARPA Launch Challenge

The DARPA Launch Challenge aims to fundamentally shift military space capabilities to enable on-demand, flexible, and responsive launch of small payloads. Three competitors successfully completed the qualification phase and will attempt to launch to low-Earth orbit from two different U.S. locations within a matter of weeks. Teams will receive notice of the first launch site a few weeks prior to launch and exact details on the payload and intended orbit just days before launch. DARPA is targeting both launches for early 2020. The qualifying competitors are Vector Launch; Virgin Orbit, which entered the competition via its wholly owned subsidiary, VOX Space; and a third company, which has requested anonymity for the first few months of the Challenge. DARPA awarded a $400,000 prize to each co...

2019/04/05 DARPA Announces Second Annual ERI Summit

Since its official announcement on June 1, 2017, DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) has sought to advance the development of a specialized, secure, and heavily automated electronics industry. ERI – a five-year, upwards of $1.5B investment to enable far-reaching improvements in electronics performance – has fostered collaborations among the commercial electronics sector, defense industrial base, and university researchers. As ERI enters its second year, DARPA seeks to reconvene the electronics community at the second annual ERI Summit in Detroit, Michigan, July 15–17. The Summit will allow electronics innovators to share their vision for the future, review technical progress, and provide input into future research directions. Last year’s ERI Summit gathered nearly 900 members o...