The Department of Mad Scientists : How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs
The first-ever inside look at DARPA--the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency--the maverick and controversial group whose futuristic work has had amazing civilian and military applications, from the Internet to GPS to driverless cars America's greatest idea factory isn't Bell Labs, Silicon Valley, or MIT's Media Lab. It's the secretive, Pentagon-led agency known as DARPA. Founded by Eisenhower in response to Sputnik and the Soviet space program, DARPA mixes military officers with sneaker-wearing scientists, seeking paradigm-shifting ideas in varied fields--from energy, robotics, and rockets to peopleless operating rooms, driverless cars, and planes that can fly halfway around the world in just hours. DARPA gave birth to the Internet, GPS, and mind-controlled robotic arms. Its geniuses define future technology for the military and the rest of us.Michael Belfiore was given unprecedented access to write this first-ever popular account of DARPA. Visiting research sites across the country, he watched scientists in action and talked to the creative, fearlessly ambitious visionaries working for and with DARPA. Much of DARPA's work is classified, and this book is full of material that has barely been reported in the general media. In fact, DARPA estimates that only 2 percent of Americans know much of anything about the agency. This fascinating read demonstrates that DARPA isn't so much frightening as it is inspiring--it is our future.
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- Hardback | 295 pages
- 152.4 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 566.99g
- 20 Oct 2009
- Smithsonian Books (DC)
- Washington, DC, United States
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The commerical space race is heating up so fast you need a cheat sheet to keep track of all the billionaires and gamblers vying to be the first private entrepreneur to blast paying customers into orbit. [Belfiore] does a stellar job introducing an intriguing cast of characters. --Wired