Draper to Build Miniature Robots Under DARPA Grant

Jeff Brody

Draper Laboratory has received a grant of undisclosed sum from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop miniature robots that will provide navigational support to rescue operations, C4ISRNET reported Wednesday.

Codenamed as SHort-Range Independent Microrobotic Platform, the planned SHRIMP technology will measure at 1 cubic centimeter and will have autonomous control, navigation, sensory and jumping capabilities.

Draper Labs will utilize 3D printing, low-power sensors and micro-eletromechanical systems to develop the robots. Additionally, the design will be inspired by actual feet from living creatures to accommodate inertia and friction on vertical and rough terrain.

“The microrobotic platform capabilities enabled by SHRIMP will provide the DoD with significantly more access and capability to operate in small spaces that are practically inaccessible to today’s state-of-the-art robotic platforms,” DARPA said in a separate statement.

DARPA plans to demonstrate the SHRIMP robots’ capabilities through a series of Olympics-style activities, including weightlifting, jumping, climbing and tug-of-war challenges.

In addition to search and rescue, Draper also sees possible utilization of the microrobots in infrastructure assessment and hardware maintenance.

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