The government is looking to build new robots for space missions and it is asking the public for help.
DARPA, the research arm of the military, is currently accepting proposals for robot concepts that are capable of anticipating and responding to the “quickly evolving needs” that occur in space as part of its Robotics Fast Track (RFT) program.
Those interested can also submit designs for robots intended for maritime, air, and ground operations.
The RFT is looking for designs that can “achieve breakthrough capabilities” in less time and at a lower cost than typical government-supported robotics projects, according to the RFT website.
The RFT effort is being run by the Open Source Robotics Foundation, a non-profit organisation, and BIT Sytems, an engineering group. DARPA is the official sponsor of the project.
Submissions will be evaulated by their scientific merit, their relevance to DARPA’s mission, and cost realism. On the DARPA website, the organisation makes its mission clear: “For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.”
Those who are selected should expect to begin work on the project within 10 days of notification.
DARPA is known for supporting ambitious projects, from restoring a paralysed man’s sense of touch using a robotic hand to building an Iron Man-like suit for the military.
Researchers all over the world are currently turning to robotics to address needs that arise anywhere from on a naval ship to up in space. For example, German researchers are currently building a humanoid robot to help astronauts in space.
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