Pioneers of nautical robotics will soon be able to experiment amongst peers in a Cape Cod facility promising a place to fail and therefore learn. Named DunkWorks, and managed by the Center for Marine Robotics on behalf of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the facility will open for public membership this September.

Massachusetts Technology Collaborative funded this development (amongst other ventures) through a five-year $5 million “Robots to the Sea” grant. This state investment in marine robotics hopes to see the new innovation institutions drive economic development. It is thought that technology invention at DunkWorks will also raise revenues, job creation, average wages, output and investment.

The Center is filled with equipment such as a 3-D printer, laser cutter, resin-printer, virtual gaming technology, electrical mechanic working stations, automated mill, lathe, autonomous underwater vehicle station with an overhead crane and woodworking tools. However, 40% of the space remains unfilled with managers planning to kit it out based on the needs of future members.

The robotics lab features a 3D printer amongst other technology

The idea that failure feeds learning is paramount here. Creators hope that DunkWorks will help speed up this development process by offering a designated place where innovators can fail at a low cost. The lab will be a collaborative space, allowing members to learn from and bounce off each other.

As well as providing the resources to test out ideas, a member of staff will be on hand to help at all times. These ‘gurus’ will provide coaching for the equipment and give insight into tackling any problems users may encounter. Dunkworks also plans to offer extra workshops and training.

We are excited to see the marine technology that DunkWorks produces as the space evolves: hopefully coming soon to a shipyard or superyacht near you.