DARPA is known for its amazing tech and scary robots. But it knows that somewhere out there, others are thinking of sweet automatons to help the Department of Defense. To that end, it has teamed up with Open Source Robotics Foundation for the Robotics Fast Track (RFT) program to give people outside the government the chance to pitch their robot idea. While it's happy to accept pitches about land and air devices, what it's really interested in is space and maritime hardware. According to DARPA program manager Mark Micire, building for both those environments is incredibly difficult. So, if you have a sweet submarine that can track other objects underwater without cracking under extreme pressure, you might want to hit them up.Micire noted that unlike other government proposal projects, the RFT folks will actually have a dialog with submitters to help guide them through the process. It will also tell you if your device has been passed over so you can tweak it or start again without wondering if you're going down the wrong road. "You can even scribble something on the back of a napkin to see if it's something that has a probability of getting through," Micire told a group of robot builders. If you have a napkin, or something a bit more thought out, you can check out the proposal guidelines and submit it on the Open Source Foundation's site. If selected, a contract will be set up and funding will be given to bring the hardware to life.
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