Agency challenges innovators to develop technology that improves robotic mobility and control.
Defense Robots: Fast, Flexible, And Tough
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Robots are about two orders of magnitude less efficient than humans and animals in using energy to produce motion, which limits their usefulness for military and other applications, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
To address this limitation, DARPA has issued a solicitation to industry for help in developing "actuation" technologies--those involved in a robot's movement--with a goal of achieving a 2,000% increase in power transmission efficiency.
DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program, inaugurated in March 2011, is aimed at developing design tools to improve robotic performance, improve fabrication processes and control methods for mobility and manipulation, and produce prototypes.
The M3 actuation project expands on DARPA's robotics R&D efforts. "By exploring multiple aspects of robot design, capabilities, control, and production, we hope to converge on an adaptable core of robot technologies that can be applied across mission areas," Gill Pratt, DARPA's M3 program manager, said in a written statement. "Success in the M3 Actuation effort would benefit not just robotics programs, but all engineered, actuated systems, including advanced prosthetic limbs."
The solicitation outlines two goals. In one, bidders will be asked to develop and demonstrate high-efficiency actuation technology that lets robots similar to those using the DARPA Robotics Challenge's government-furnished equipment platform have 20 times longer endurance than is currently possible (only 10 to 20 minutes), or up to 400 minutes. Companies will be expected to share their design approach at DARPA's Robotics Challenge in December 2013 and demonstrate their systems a year later. Awards will be limited to $2.5 million per project per phase.
In a second track, bidders will be asked to conduct basic scientific and engineering research into improving the efficiency of actuators, without requiring that it be applied. Those awards are capped at $500,000 per project per phase, or $1 million maximum.
The Office of Management and Budget demands that federal agencies tap into a more efficient IT delivery model. The new Shared Services Mandate issue of InformationWeek Government explains how they're doing it. Also in this issue: Uncle Sam should develop an IT savings dashboard that shows the returns on its multibillion-dollar IT investment. (Free registration required.)
The Agile ArchiveWhen it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
2014 Analytics, BI, and Information Management SurveyITís tried for years to simplify data analytics and business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.