Monday, March 14, 2016

DARPA Offers Awards For Off-The-Shelf Weapons Ideas

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Are you a retired engineer with too much time on your hands? A tech hobbyist who just found a hack with weapons applications? Well then the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a challenge for you!

The black box U.S. defense agency has announced a solicitation for ingenious geniuses to submit "research proposals for prototype products and systems that have the potential to threaten current military operations, equipment, or personnel and are assembled primarily from commercially available technology." In other words, DARPA wants to see what someone can build with all the high tech gadgets that are widely available on retail shelves.

The project, aptly named 'Improv', places little restrictions on which technologies to use. According to the government solicitation, "... the program definition of “commercially available technology” is largely unrestricted and ranges from generic and widely available technology such as cell phones, to highly specialized, domain-specific technology such as construction, salvage, or surveying equipment.."

Just don't break any laws while tinkering. "Proposers are free to reconfigure, repurpose, program, reprogram, modify, combine, or recombine commercially available technology in any way within the bounds of local, state, and federal laws and regulations," the solicitation warns. "Use of components, products, and systems from non-military technical specialties (e.g., transportation, construction, maritime, and communications) is of particular interest."

The full solicitation can be found here.

Image credit: DARPA