Wouldn’t it be great if your idea for a giant killer robot could come to life? Yes, Igor! It’s alive! Like Superman III’s Gus the hacker, developing a supercomputer incarnation of Brainiac on paper napkins and cigarette wrappers. But instead of some crazy businessman, the US government no less will be funding the building of your robot. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency otherwise known as DARPA wants your ideas for killer robots. If you have any ideas, DARPA could use some. Like Hollywood, they seem to be running out of ideas and are seeking to crowdsource their brain trust. Well, DARPA is anyway. Hollywood is content in rehashing and rebooting successful old franchises. Anyway, as fancy as any of DARPA’s ideas are, there are still smarter guys out there somewhere, and their Robotics Fast Track program is on the lookout for ideas from these smarter guys.
It’s like KickStarter for robotic weapons. DARPA will accept air and land-based robots but will be ecstatic to receive marine-type and space-type robots. They probably already have dog or cat-like robots that can run under enemy tanks to blow them up like the Germans did in WWII, as well as those autonomous killer mini-quad-copters everyone’s talking about.
It could be because there’s a fierce competition with China when it comes to water-based weapons as China continues adding new vessels to its maritime fleet. China is also onto something new, island building. Who needs Midway when they can make one? Space is a new avenue as well, and other countries have started doing explorations on their own. It’s been a while since US and Russian space junk were the only things up there. Space and water are now the priority. Perhaps robots that resemble fish that can latch onto and sink enemy ships much better than any conventional torpedo could. Or robotic fish that can withstand deep sea pressure and can be used to locate and sink enemy subs. These robots also don’t need to sink ships, especially in peace time. They can be used to jam communications of ships intruding into territorial waters leaving them lost at sea and avoiding any international incident. In space, how about robots that can intercept sub-orbital ballistic missiles or robots that can be used to kill or capture enemy satellites. There’s a ton of possibilities that smarter guys can think of. Everyone including DARPA may have already thought of all the aforementioned. They’re probably wanting for fresh or revolutionary approaches to these ideas their eggheads haven’t thought of.
Applicants will be notified whether they’re ideas are accepted or passed over. Ideas that are passed over are given a chance to try again and improve on points that DARPA provides.
Still in the out-of-ideas department, Microsoft is also looking for ideas for apps for its Windows Holographic, better known as the Hololens. You think it, Microsoft will build it. Perhaps due to the secretive nature of Windows Holographic, not everyone in the developer community gets to contribute to Microsoft’s new brainchild. Microsoft tried the approach before with Windows RT, Windows 8 and Universal apps and the response remains lukewarm. So now, Microsoft is just soliciting for ideas. Major studios and independent developers can get into the action but only if they shell out 3,000 dollars for a Hololens developers kit.
Microsoft’s deadline for ideas is before January 11, 2016, so put your thinking caps on, and if the idea gets chosen, the winner will get a front-row seat in its development. For example, ever since the first Hololens demo, the idea that keeps popping to my head is being able to write in a virtual environment. Writing on Microsoft Word while using a simulated typewriter, manually shifting the paper to the right and all but still with the ability to manipulate fonts and everything else. You don’t like the document, rip it out and toss into a virtual trash bin close by.
Or how about a bunch of executives or board directors wearing hololenses collaborating on a screen several feet in front of them without having to stand up. Everyone seeing the same thing and modifying the idea at the same time. Or how about specialized training apps for every heavy construction machinery available? There are lots of possibilities which is why Windows Holographic took some attention away from other VR and AR devices.
So turn your ideas in to DARPA or Microsoft. You just might be the one responsible for building Skynet or that orbiting railgun with virtual controls in that crummy Final Fantasy movie.