US gov't seeks builder for military robot

US government asks for shape-shifting robot proposals

Creative scientists have until next week to submit proposals for creating a shape-shifting military robot that can shrink and then reconfigure itself to normal height and shape.

The description of the robot, at a high level, is somewhat reminiscent of the villainous liquid-state cyborg of the sci-fi movie Terminator 2 -- except that this robot would be dispatched to save lives on the battlefield. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is accepting proposals for building the so-called Chemical Robot (ChemBot) from researchers until July 2.

According to the Department of Defense unit's request for proposals, potential developers should avoid using hard materials that can't "rapidly traverse arbitrary size/shape openings whose dimensions are much smaller than the robot itself and are not known a-priori."

The RFP suggests using technologies like gels, thickening fluids and shape memory materials that can return to an original shape after completing a mission. DARPA acknowledges that some technologies may still be in the research labs of submitters.

Ultimately, the agency said it hopes the ChemBot can provide "the ability to safely and covertly gain access to denied or hostile areas and perform useful tasks," and provide help to soldiers "over a broad spectrum of military operations."

DARPA describes ChemBot as a soft and flexible device that can squeeze through apertures and then reassemble to do its job. The agency is looking for the ChemBots to be capable of traveling distances, transforming in all three dimensions and carrying their own power source.

DARPA dictates that the ChemBot have tactile sensing capability and a backbone or skeleton that can also dissolve or morph shape, and be either autonomously or remotely controlled. Taking a cue from the animal kingdom, DARPA suggests that the ChemBot have elastic materials capable of twisting, crumpling or bending like an octopus or insect.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Marc L. Songini

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?