What is there to commercialize? Imagine an application in emergency medicine whereby a person with minimum training in first aid can suddenly perform major emergency surgery on someone in the middle of nowhere, or a surgical procedure and process available but unknown to a physician in a third world country are suddenly visibly rendered in real time and space as he makes the incision, possibly encounters complications and then provided solutions, is fed the patient's vital signs, and all done with less staff and training than typically required--and without the physician ever having once before seen or performed the procedure.
Or, imagine an airplane being landed, after pilots have become incapacitated, by someone who has never flown a plane and needs more than an air controller's audible instructions to safely do so. There are indeed problems which need this solution. In fact, I'm certain we can't even imagine most of them at this point in time--just as Tom Watson (IBM) once thought the world would never need more than a handful of computers.
(And as for form factor, could Edison ever have imagined his cylinder phonograph with its huge horn now being no larger than Apple's iPod shuffle, and with infinitely better quality in every respect? Advice: Neither underestimate the future nor believe it won't be here sooner than you think.)
Anyone else noticed DARPA's recent major marketing/publicity campaign? There is now this well-publicized balloon hunt. There was the televised robotic vehicle challenge. Even very recently, DARPA was central to the plot of an episode of NCIS: LA. Its research efforts have been given very visible press in magazines such as Scientific American. (Look here for another recent SA article about DARPA research.) DARPA has also been featured twice on 60 Minutes in the past few months. And, it now has quite a following on Facebook.
All of these somehow involve or inform the general public--not exactly par for the course given DARPA activities historically have been kept very much under wraps. What's really going on here? Why the recent publicity barrage? Two years ago, or less, I'm willing to bet 98% of Americans had no idea DARPA even existed. Might it be the old magician's trick of having us watch one hand while the other hand is actually performing the "magic?" For example, have you seen iRobot's shape-shifting Chembot recently developed with DARPA funding?
As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison