Nice article, Elizabeth. I'll bet this competition will provide a number of impressive entries. I think it's particularly notable that DARPA is willing to provide equipment for contestants. That could boost submissions from individuals and educational entities.
As we suffer the employement dirge in this political climate, there are so many fields in which engineers could not only make a difference but define the next evolution of technology. This article illustrates how we can utilize our skills to solve another interesting problem, but there are so many more problems we face today. And think of the jobs that could be created if only a small percentage of these ideas come to fruition! Think of the computer generation started in a garage and kitchen table. Look at the progression of integrated circuits from resistor-resistor logic to SOAC (systems on a chip). There are opportunities in security, communications (like the whole cell tower thing is really working out! "Can you hear me yet" still has a resounding "NO!"), medicine, affordable space travel, transportation, and a myriad of other fields that have not progressed as sci-fi predicted in the middle 20th century while so many other things have.
So, DARPA (citizen-funded research, not Presidential largess-funded research) has given us another challenge. Thanks for the good idea, DARPA!
Thanks for this @Elizabeth! The success of the DARPA Grand Challenge series has resulted in the Google Self-driving automobile. Now the DARPA Robotics Challenge should result in similar successes.
While NASA unfortunately grew into a bureaucratic behemoth which ultimately suffocated under its own weight, DARPA continues to innovate and evolve the concept of crowd-sourcing. While the crowd was previously limited to the research and development shops of contractors, they have continued to expand the crowd to include universities, non-defense contractors, and even private citizens and enthusiasts. While NASA sought to perfect Management, DARPA continues to perfect Leadership -- a leadership model that defines forward-looking goals and then encourages others to use their own talents and resources to innovate toward that goal.
I can only hope that this type of Leadership in our government institutions is contagious.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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