The agency responsible for the internet, GPS and stealth aircraft has produced a whole lot of weird in the 62 years since its foundation.
For every one of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s wild successes, there seem to be a plethora of wild failures – projects like mechanical elephants or telepathy research. What makes DARPA so unique is its ability to go outside the red tape of bureaucracy to innovate. DARPA isn’t subject to the same acquisition rules as other agencies, which means it has fewer restrictions on the scientists and innovators it can hire and the salaries it can offer.
The agency also has fewer financial limitations, enabling it to invest in longshot projects with the hopes they’ll pay off – they’re basically the military’s innovative venture capitalists.
Here are some of the more interesting projects to come out of DARPA’s “high-risk, high-reward” environment.
1. Plant-eating robots