Developing Technologies

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., this week to see what new technologies the agency is developing. On his April 22 visit, Hagel met with patients and researchers developing a robotic arm that can “mimic the shape, size, and weight of a human arm,” said DARPA Program Manager Justin Sanchez. Hagel’s friend and fellow Vietnam War veteran Fred Downs, who lost his arm during the war, operated the robotic arm through a series of foot movements, according to an April 23 release. This kind of technology “is transformational,” said Hagel, who also learned of DARPA’s Robotic Challenge, which is “a competition to develop a robot for rescue and disaster response.” The project came about after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. He also received a classified briefing on three developing pieces of technology pertaining to Plan X, a cyberware program; persistent close air support; and a long-range, anti-ship missile, states the release.