DARPA wants more powerful robots

DARPA wants to create a robot that has more power and stamina.

The agency has said that robots may have been designed to help shut off roadside bombs or shut off a valve leaking toxic steam, but they are no good to anyone if they run out of power within 10 or 20 minutes of activation.

It added that the use of robots in defence missions was also currently constrained in part by power supply issues.

The agency has now created the M3 Actuation program, with the goal of achieving a 2,000 percent increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application in robots to improve performance potential.

It said that if robotic actuation could be made to approach the efficiency of human and animal actuation, the range of practical robotic applications would greatly increase and robot design will be less limited by power plant considerations.

M3 Actuation is an effort within DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) robotics program, and adds a new dimension to DARPA’s suite of robotics research and development work.

Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager, said that by exploring multiple aspects of robot design, capabilities, control and production, the agency hoped to “converge on an adaptable core of robot technologies that can be applied across mission areas.

“Success in the M3 Actuation effort would benefit not just robotics programs, but all engineered, actuated systems, including advanced prosthetic limbs,” she added.

She added that the agency was now asking for proposals from the public to present ideas that will require input from a range of scientific and engineering specialities.