DARPA wants smartphone app developers for super sensor program

DARPA program wants to make rapid advances in sensor networking

Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are looking for a few good smartphone application developers to make programs that will make sensor systems in everything from unmanned aircraft to cameras more sophisticated and intelligent.

 "DARPA is looking to tap the smartphone application development community with experience in application creation," said Mark Rich, DARPA program manager. From novel approaches to networked connectivity, accelerometer use, user interfaces and others, DARPA hopes to revolutionize sensors built on smartphone-like technology. DARPA believes this can be accomplished by adding commercial smartphone application developers to the innovation process to deliver deployed distributed sensor systems for the military.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have become indispensable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms for the US military, but how much more effective could they be, if an app were created that allowed a swarm of small deployed UAVs to be controlled as a single unit without having to individually control each vehicle? DARPA asked in a release.

DARPA is actively looking for commercial app developers to address specific sensor challenges including collecting, organizing, storing and sharing video information (such as YouTube for distributed video); sharing information over communications interfaces (such as  Skype for unattended sensors); developing and implementing rich user interfaces to display and understand what happens in a sensor array (such as Google maps with automatic tracking); novel uses of smartphone capabilities to rapidly develop and deploy sensor networks (like using the accelerometer to detect trucks driving by an unattended sensor), Rich said.

The smartphone intelligence will be used as part of DARPA's Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) which is looking to quickly  develop an advanced, common hardware and software architecture that can run a variety of  low-cost intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor applications. ADAPT core hardware and some software, with Android-like features are already under development, the agency stated.  

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