The DARPAnator

News Posted 04/04/07
Author: PV5150

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Sorry folks, I just had to post this little snippet. So what do you get when you have an annual budget approximately the size of the combined GDP of many first world countries, and a little imagination? DARPA!!!

It appears that some bright spark from the U.S. Defense Department has decided that it’d be cool to have a morphing robot. I must admit that the first image that came into my head was nasty Robert Patrick who played T-1000 in ‘Judgement Day’; it was a rather convincing role for its time…especially with the CG work that went into the movie, but c’mon.

Anyway, DARPA have issued request for proposals to develop a “chemical robot” made of soft, flexible materials that can squeeze through openings smaller than its static dimensions and then reconstitute itself to perform a military task.

“Often the only available points of entry are small openings in buildings, walls, under doors, etc. In these cases, a robot must be soft enough to squeeze or traverse through small openings, yet large enough to carry an operationally meaningful payload,” DARPA stated in a solicitation last week.
“ChemBots represent the convergence of soft materials chemistry and robotics to create a fundamentally new class of soft meso-scale robots.”

DARPA is looking for robot prototypes about the size of a softball that travel a distance of 5 meters at a quarter of a meter per minute, collapse to a tenth of its size and then squeeze through a 1 centimeter opening and reconstitute to its original shape in 15 seconds. White papers on proposals are due May 3, 2007 and full proposals are due July 2, 2007.


The crazy thing is that someone may actually pull this off.

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