First time at DARPATech. Impressions:
I'm a geek and all, but, whoa. I've never been around such an assemblage of high-powered, card-carrying geeks in my life. Most of us are men, white, and older than me.
The program manager for the world's largest military contractor sits next to you working on his encrypted laptop seemingly unaware that he's humming tunelessly while he works.
My soundtrack for DARPATech so far has been surreal: 80s pop playing in the hotel - I'll Melt with You and Cruel Summer - and rock and roll (Money for Nothing) or bad dance music (What is Love?) intro music for pocket-protector-wearing PhDs discussing microsystems technology.
Ok, they weren't really wearing pocket protectors, but everything else is true!
A key part of any conference is the swag. DARPATech swag is not too swanky: a camo flashlight my twins will like, coffee mug, conference bag. Pretty standard stuff.
The main message I've heard here so far? We need your ideas. Makes sense to me. Many heads are better than one and I'm glad that's how DARPA and the DoD are approaching the technological challenges before them.