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CRF Blog » Blog Archive » The Department of Mad Scientists

CRF Blog

The Department of Mad Scientists

by Bill Hayes

A review of a book in New York Times Book Review tells about scientists at the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA. Titled The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, From the Internet to Artificial Limbs, the book by Michael Belfiore recounts how these scientists are leading a revolution in robotics—unmanned vehicles that can deliver cargo in war zones, prosthetic devices that can read the body’s electric impulses, machines that perform surgery. From the review:

Soldiers get wounded in faraway places without broadband or doctors, and they need help fast. That’s why Darpa wants mobile machines that can do surgery without human guidance. Such robots are in the works, according to Belfiore. Their initial repertory will be limited, but that’s O.K. They just have to keep the wounded alive for the hour it takes to reach a hospital. And with every life they save, they’ll begin to earn our trust.

A short interview with Michael Belfiore: