10.19.2009

DARPA's Enhancement of Warfighters: Programmable Matter

http://www.defenselink.mil//news/newsarticle.aspx?id=56269
www.defenselink.mil - DARPA's Programmable Matter Enhancement of Warfighter
Moviegoers were captivated as they watched a metallic assassin morph before their eyes in "Terminator 2." The villain turned to liquid before assuming new forms capable of squeezing through narrow openings and transforming its arms into bladed weapons and solid metal tools.
Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency were wowed too. Now they're working to deliver that same kind of technology to support the good guys: warfighters on the battlefield.
Mitchell R. Zakin, program manager for DARPA's Programmable Matter division, said he's convinced the concept depicted for decades in blockbuster movies and comic books has real-life applications.
He's leading up the effort to develop "programma matter," which he calls "the ultimate adaptable material." It will be capable of changing size and shape and taking on new properties for one use, he explained, then adapting to a whole different form for another use.
Zakin clarified that he's not out to change warfighters themselves, just the equipment they use, the clothing they wear and the loads they carry.
"Warfighters carry an incredible amount of stuff and they don't have any more room to carry more," he said. "Yet they are facing much more complicated battle spaces. They're going into caves and working in cities. They need more sophisticated tools to deal with these environments, yet they can't carry them."
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