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The Military Hardware Technology

DARPA Pays $3.5 Million For New TechShops and Secret Reconfigurable Factories 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the redesigning-construction-methods dept.
pacopico writes "Businessweek reports that DARPA will pay for the creation of two new TechShops in Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh. The $3.5 million deal includes 2,000 TechShop memberships for military veterans and will have DARPA employees performing top secret work at night. 'The project is called iFab. For a month, a given factory might use dozens of machines to make parts for helicopters. Then you reboot the software controlling the machines, and out come the parts for the drive train system in a tank. The Darpa workers at TechShop will try to figure out which tools and methods can be used to rewire factories in this fashion.' Maker mayhem."
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DARPA Pays $3.5 Million For New TechShops and Secret Reconfigurable Factories

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  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:42PM (#40093215)
    It's DARPA, so neither really. Just them doing things to see if they can, which is 99% of what DARPA does. Also encouraging innovation and experimentation... which again, is what DARPA is all about.
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:45PM (#40093255)

    "Factories like this" being quickly reconfigurable to manufacture a variety of products? You don't see any potential commercial uses for that? Do you really not understand the push toward manufacturing on demand?

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:00PM (#40093429)

    Is this a hedge in case China decides to stop making shit for the US? Or plain ol' pork?

    Probably B disguised as A

    I'm thinking, probably Plan A disguised as Plan B. DARPA people are pretty damned clever. They know how to play that favorite of all gameshows on the Hill, 'The Appropriations Game'.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:03PM (#40093459)

    "The only time you need factories like this is n preparation for a global conflict."

    If there were a prize for "Absurd Asserted Conclusion", your post would win it.

    Foxconn reconfigures by issuing orders to hordes of expensive workers.

    US manufacturing could reconfigure taking advantage of technology, and negate the Chinese labor advantage.

  • by Infernal Device (865066) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:08PM (#40093491)

    The only time you need factories like this is n preparation for a global conflict.

    Is the DoD expecting WWIII?

    That's kind of their job. Expect the worst, hope for the best.

    These are the guys who make contingency plans for just about everything, so on some level, yes, they probably are expecting WWIII.

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