Who knew that reading comic books or watching the classic ’60s Batman TV show would lead to this? Katie Drummond writes in WIRED’s Danger Room:
The Pentagon’s blue-sky research arm has outdone itself this time. Darpa’s got two new projects that are ambitious in scope, even by their standards. So maybe that explains why the agency opted to enlist some awesomely bad superhero acronyms to characterize the way-out endeavors.
At least, that’s the best explanation Danger Room can come up with. Because it’s tough to see a connection between the fundamental nature of time, biological design … and Gotham City’s Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder.
Leave it up to the prodigious acronym artists at the Pentagon — responsible for gems like RESURRECT, NIRVANA and DUDE — to go for it anyway. Darpa’s launching Biochronicity and Temporal Mechanisms Arising in Nature (BaTMAN), in an effort to better understand “the spatio-temporal universe,” and, from there, “transform biology from a descriptive to a predictive field of science.”
It’s an area the Darpa’s been exploring for years, especially when it comes to quantum effects in nature. Just last year, they launched an effort to uncover more “tantalizing evidence” of biological systems that “operate using ‘manifestly’ quantum effects.” Eventually, Darpa wants to apply nature’s quantum smarts to tools like biomimetic sensors and quantum radar.
BatMAN’s the main draw, but every good superhero acronym needs a sidekick. So Darpa’s come up with RoBIN, or Robustness of Biologically-Inspired Networks, in an effort to boost the collaboration strategies of key decision-makers using “biological design principles.” In other words, apply inclinations found in nature, like collective behavior and complex, adaptable networks, to improve human interactions.
Read More: WIRED’s Danger Room