Among spin-offs from research sponsored by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization(BMDO)are two very powerful, but different, microscopes. One is an infrared device that uses a focal plane array to obtain both spectral images and signatures of biological and materials. A group of researchers at the National Institutes of Health developed the microscope based on work by BMDO's Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle program. Essex Corp. (Columbia, MD) invented the other microscope, parlaying BMDO-sponsored development of a wideband-range Doppler imager for ground-based radar. The Essex microscope can produce high-resolution holographic images in a few seconds.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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