DARPA, as you may know, is a cool US government research lab. They design cool shit like planes that can fly without one wing. But sometimes, apparently, the hive mind knows best — like this ‘crowdsourced’ swimming tank, which has just won the designers a cool £700,000, and endless bragging rights.
Ok, so the design you see above isn’t actually the whole tank — rather, it’s just the drivetrain. Though in a tank that can paddle along without any water-wing-armbands at all, the drivetrain is kinda a big thing. Anyway, the important fact is that the design was ‘crowdsourced’ — designed by three civilian engineers, all geographically separated across the US, but united by the power of DARPA’s
new eHarmony rival online design tools and open-source design software. Their design beat out 1,000 other rivals to win a casual million dollars.
Sadly, there’s no guarantee this drivetrain will actually be used in the final design of the swimming tank, since those decisions will be made by the Marines, and not DARPA. The main point of the whole exercise, then, seems to have been to prove that crowdsourcing defence projects works. And also that Kickstarter isn’t the only way to fund things on the internet any more. [Wired]