May 30, 2012

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) revealed it will invest $3.5 million into TechShop, "a membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make."

TechShop currently operates 5 locations around the US, they are Menlo Park, Raleigh, San Francisco, San Jose, and Detroit. With the funding of DARPA, TechShop is able to open two new locations in Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh later this year.

This program as part of DARPA's new Adaptive Vehicle Make program intends to "create a foundry to rapidly design and reconfigure manufacturing capabilities to support the fabrication of a wide array of military vehicles."

Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) is a portfolio of programs that address revolutionary approaches to the design, verification and manufacturing of complex defense systems and vehicles. Another important feature of the Adaptive Vehicle Make program is its focus on crowd sourcing through its MENTOR program.

MENTOR (Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach) focuses on engaging high school-age students in a series of collaborative design and distributed manufacturing experiments, including 3D printers. DARPA plans to have 1,000 schools in the program by the 2014-15 academic year.

Several companies are currently under contract as part of MENTOR.

In September 2011, 3D Systems and Stratasys are selected By Georgia Tech and DARPA for MENTOR program - starting in 2012, Stratasys Dimension, 3D printers from 3D systems and other brands will be installed in more than 20 high schools selected by the DARPA program as part of the first phase roll-out.

In January 2012, O'Reilly Media, which owns Make magazine and operates Maker Faire, announce that O'Reilly's MAKE division, in partnership with Otherlab of San Francisco, has received an award from DARPA to develop a new Makerspace program. "The program has a goal of reaching 1000 high schools over four years, starting with a pilot program of 10 high schools in California during the 2012-2013 school year."

The Makerspace program will integrate technologies as Arduino, an open-source microcontroller, and 3D printers such as the MakerBot or kits developed by makers to build a physical and digital workspace for schools.

"Supporting initiatives that expand the number and diversity of talent contributing to the Nation's defense is critical to DARPA's efforts in advanced manufacturing. The resources made available through this effort enables more people to 'make,'—the DNA of creativity and innovation." said Kaigham J. Gabriel, DARPA Acting Director.


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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