sewing robotIn a move to cut cost and increase the productivity in making military uniforms, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has reportedly signed a $1.25 million contract with SoftWear Automation, a developer of automated sewing solutions, to create a robotic sewing factory for the production of U.S. military garments. The Pentagon spends approximately $4 billion per year on uniforms, with over 50,000 people working on the production of these garments. DARPA’s new deal with SoftWear Automation hopes to speed up and automate the entire process while minimizing the costs involved. SoftWear Automation will be working on an industrial sewing machine with robotic support mechanisms.

To do this, the company will reportedly use a standard “pick and place” robot to move the fabric from station to station. Once the fabric reaches the sewing station, robotic actuators will use a vacuum to move the fabric into position. Meanwhile, the sewing machine will sport a modified working head with servo-controlled motors will guide and keep the pressure on the fabric. But the genius behind the system lies in the high-resolution cameras that will allegedly count the threads in the cloth to calculate position and distance. So far, no specific timeline has been discussed.

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