DARPA, that governmental black magic factory that gave us the flying Humvee and Hummingbird spybot, has unveiled its new Maximum Mobility and Manipulation Program (M3) program that plans to put us on the fast track to our robotic future. M3 aims to improve robotic research through four specialized development programs -- design tools, fabrication, control, and prototype demonstration -- that divvy up the work between commercial labs and universities. The program will not replace existing bionic projects, but some, like the Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program, will be folded into the new scheme. DARPA anticipates that the plan will result in cheaper bots superior to those we have today, but not superior to man... we hope.

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DARPA M3 program to make cheaper, more mobile robots for the US war machine