Those innovative radicals at DARPA are at it again.
This time it’s an advanced manufacturing initiative operating under the agency’s Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) portfolio whimsically known as Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB). The idea is to create a foundry to rapidly design and reconfigure manufacturing capabilities to support the fabrication of wide array of military vehicles.
The initiative has enlisted the help of one of the stalwarts of the civilian maker movement. DARPA has teamed up with TechShop, a membership-based workshop whose many facilities across the country provide access to tools and equipment, instruction and support – including 3D printers.
The DARPA web site quotes Army Lt. Col. Nathan Wiedenman, DARPA program manager, who says, “This new collaboration with TechShop will allow us to have a dedicated test bed for digital manufacturing technologies, examine new ideas and experiment with new techniques in support of rapidly programmable manufacturing that can be integrated into the larger iFAB foundry.”
All of which fits with the agency’s charter of thinking outside the box.
After all, DARPA’s own mission statements says, “Near-term needs and requirements generally drive the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force to focus on those needs at the expense of major change. Consequently, a large organization like DoD needs a place like DARPA whose only charter is radical innovation.”
Full story at DARPA