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News Archive 2001 - 2010

$3.5M Defense Funding to Support Microengineering Developments

September 17, 2007

The recently-approved U.S. Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill includes strategic funding to The University of Texas at Arlington’s Automation & Robotics Research Institute (ARRI) to enhance the ability of researchers there to continue and expand the development of fundamental techniques for the packaging and assembly of microparts into small devices, enabling cost-effective, on-shore micromanufacturing.

ARRI was created with an economic development mandate to assist Texas manufacturers of high-tech products and services. It is the home of the Texas Microfactory tm, a one-of-a-kind facility with unique capabilities that will accelerate applications of microdevices by embedding them into functional microsystems for both military and commercial markets.

A key defense application involves high-precision munitions that will enhance the safety and lethality of combat personnel while reducing collateral damage. Such munitions include “smart” bullets steered by microactuators and swarms of microrobots that increase the situational awareness of troops by performing dangerous surveillance and monitoring duties, many of which are also applicable to homeland security situations.

The Texas Microfactory tm also assists the commercial sector by perfecting micromanufacturing techniques, specifically in the areas of microassembly and micropackaging. The increased use of “too small to hand assemble” devices promotes more knowledge-intensive industries as opposed to labor-intensive ones, eliminating industries’ needs to search for low-cost, off-shore labor.

The Texas Microfactory tm currently employs the talents of several full-time research scientists and College of Engineering faculty members, and between 20 and 30 undergraduate and graduate students. Detailed information on ARRI’s capabilities of creating smart micromachines is available at http://arri.uta.edu/.

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