A new method of studying and cooling trapped atoms is discussed, with particular attention to atoms in far detuned, 3D optical lattices. The technique, projection cooling, uses a combination of microwave and optical fields to cycle atoms between hyperfine sublevels. A single vibrational level will remain dark to both the light and the microwaves, so atoms will accumulate there. Cooling below the photon recoil limit is possible with this technique. As a diagnostic tool it promises to yield detailed information about atoms in the lattice, including vibrational spectra and the distribution of atoms among vibrational levels, even in the limit of relatively weak binding to lattice sites. Atoms cooled in this way and then allowed to adiabatically expand in their potentials could reach the Bose-Einstein condensation point in less than a second, or at least get close enough to reach it after only a modest amount of evaporative cooling in a larger volume trap. Atoms so cooled and trapped are also of interest for precision measurements.