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SoftWear Automation awarded $1.25 million DARPA contract

SoftWear Automation, the latest in a string of ventures founded by Steve Dickerson – a retired Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor Emeritus at Georgia Institute of Technology – and nurtured by Georgia Tech’s startup accelerator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), has been awarded a contract for $1.25 Million, by DARPA, to develop automated sewing work-cells, that the company hopes will reinvigorate the domestic garment industry and DARPA hopes will shorten the time from requisition to delivery while lowering costs, as well as reducing reliance on foreign suppliers. (The Department of Defense currently spends about $4 Billion per year on uniforms.) Part of that $1.25 Million will go to Georgia Tech, which is expected to provide considerable support for the development of the technology. The idea for SoftWear Automation began when, in 2007, Professor Dickerson was asked to participate in a seminar on the future of robotics. Danger Room provides perspective, and Gizmag has both more detail and a small gallery of conceptual hardware prototypes.

By John Payne

Metals shop and auto mechanics in high school; B.A. in Biology, eventually leading to an interest in General Systems and computing; interest in robotics sparked by the realization that autonomous machines could enable a vast improvement in land management.

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