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DARPA Seeks Teens’ Skills

Teens Work on Laptops at the Beach

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) wants to tap into the collective brain power of super-smart high school students. The Pentagon agency that funds cutting-edge research is spending $10 million on a project that would have teen braniacs using Web 2.0 social-networking skills to speed up and improve defense manufacturing technologies, according to Wired’s Danger Room blog.

The program is called MENTOR, for Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach. Its goal: “Develop and motivate a next generation of systems designers and manufacturing innovators.” The blog says DARPA hopes that students with sharp soc-net skills can work in teams — within a single high school or across multiple schools — to design and develop “cyber-electro-mechanical systems.” Translation: they can work on anything, from go-carts to robots to unmanned aircraft.

DARPA wants nonprofit organizations, schools, and businesses to develop proposals and provide students with manufacturing equipment. By MENTOR’s fourth year, the blog says, DARPA wants 1,000 schools involved. Now, that’s teen power.

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