The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the U.S. military, is asking citizens to expose which household consumer items are capable of being transformed into weapons.
The new program, called Improv, is calling on concerned minds around the globe to help them prevent potential violence carried out with weapons made from regularly available items. The program is specifically seeking individuals from a non-military background who can reveal the ways in which common household technology can be manipulated and transformed for violent purposes.
Advances in technology have given ordinary citizens access to technology that may be used by aggressors to make homemade and covert weapons. Through the submitted prototypes, DARPA is looking to prevent the use of advanced homemade explosives crafted from accessible and increasingly sophisticated technologies. The Improv program seeks to help DARPA and the Pentagon catch up with the advances in materials and technology that are now regularly available to the general public.
The focus of the program is on products that can be easily acquired within existing current local laws. Applicants with significant contributions to the program will be awarded up to $130,000 to produce a prototype — $40,000 to conduct a feasibility study, up to $70,000 for prototype construction, and up to $20,000 for prototype evaluation.
Once given approval and funding, applicants will have 75 days to complete their prototype. Prototypes deemed significant by DARPA will be analyzed by the U.S. government to see if countermeasures should be taken to prevent abuse of the technology.
Registration for the program is due by March 21, and by April 13, the projects deemed significant will be funded for development and construction.
Tom Ciccotta writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta.