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DARPA Launches Program to Develop Microrobots for Disaster Response

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new program designed to develop micro- to millirobots for disaster response uses.

The SHort-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms program will involve research encompassing actuator materials, mechanisms and power storage needed to create functional microrobots, DARPA said Tuesday.

The agency seeks to address the lack of power, navigation and control capacities seen in microrobotic platforms.

The program intends to use actuator technology to boost the robots’ mobility, load-bearing capacity and dexterity.

“The strength-to-weight ratio of an actuator influences both the load-bearing capability and endurance of a microrobotic platform,” said Ronald Polcawich, a program manager at DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office.

DARPA will evaluate the resulting robotic platforms using the principles followed in the National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s Robotics Test Facility.

Teams under the SHRIMP program will compete in tests to evaluate the robot’s mobility and other performance aspects.

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