Working on MinneFaire and trying to generate a broader community outreach and participation I got to thinking about HarkerSpaces and the connections to the movement. The Power Wheels Racing Series and last year’s Global Hacker Challenge showed the way that competition leads to connection. That is great but just a bit outside of the overall cooperative nature of the movement.
What about a major, long term, showy cooperative effort tying together multiple spaces and associates.
Thus the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
This broad sustained challenge focused on disaster response seems a worthy enough and a cool enough project, to be used to establish and develop the infrastructure and connection between spaces and individuals that could allow the movement to create even greater things. Just the effort would be enough regardless of the outcome to create the paths both within and between our individual spaces and communities to accomplish and distribute tasks and goals. With this kind of focus to build around both interior and exterior lines can be laid and enhanced.
Does this seem like an idea worth pursuing?
DARPA will be opening up the track C (unfunded software) at program announcement in early October. It would be of great benefit to have an executive supervisory committee in place to submit the application by then. Track C will give a team access to the open source simulator and allow entry into the June 2013 challenge. Six teams out of that challenge will be given a robot based on PETMan to continue on to the next challenge. Track D is set for a spring 2013 opening.
This at first blush seems a daunting task. It is as far as I can see outside of the capacity of any one space or individual. It I believe within the capacity of some subset of the hacker/maker movement.
This is not however a task quite like any of the other large scale crowd sourced efforts we have seen before. With the fixed points a challenging level of project management will be required. Challenging because it is essential the the individual spaces and associated groups maintain their uniqueness and internal procedures. I seen the coordinating structure emerging rather than being organized.
So probably the first task is assembling and creating the management infrastructure.