Used To Be Science Fiction

DARPA Seeks Shape-Shifting War Robots
InformationWeek (04/05/07) Jones, K.C.

Developers have until July 2, 2007, to submit full proposals to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for developing chemical robots that are able to change shapes and squeeze into small openings in buildings, walls, or under doors as part of military operations in war zones. DARPA is seeking soft, flexible, and mobile robots that are still large enough to carry an “operationally meaningful payload.” After the robots have gained access to denied or hostile areas, they will need to return to their size, shape, and functionality. The agency refers to the chemical robots as ChemBots, which will also need to sense small openings, and withstand different temperatures, humidity levels, and precipitation. The robots can be self-powered, self-consuming, or energy-scavenging; autonomous or user-controlled; but not limited by controllers or power sources. “Nature provides many examples of ChemBot functionality” such as mice, octopi, and insects, DARPA said in its request for proposals.
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Do you remember reading sci-fi stories like this? Maybe called NanoChem instead of Chem-bots, but ….

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