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DARPA Robotics Challenge

by   -   December 3, 2013

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The first real world trial in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) will be held on December 20-21 2013 at Homestead Freeway in Florida. Yes, it’s open to the public. Anyone can come along and watch humanoid robots try to perform difficult disaster relief human type tasks. This is the geekolympics, it’s nerdvana. Honestly, it’s like sport only better. Here’s the basic background and the rundown on the top teams.

Based on a media rountable discussion with DRC Program Manager Gill Pratt and CEO of the Open Source Robotics Foundation Brian Gerkey.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear disaster was a wake-up call to the robotics community. In Japan, many asked why a country known for its cutting-edge robotics sector was unable to respond to the emergency. Worldwide, robotics experts pointed to the event as a real-world test of what robots can and cannot do.

Whether man-made or natural — or like Fukushima, a combination of the two — major catastrophic events, while rare, are becoming increasingly costly as human populations worldwide move to urban areas. This is why, in an effort to spur the development of agile humanoid first-responders, the US Department of Defense’s strategic plan identifies disaster response as a priority area, and why it is funnelling tens of millions of dollars into the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

by   -   July 22, 2013

A week ago the DARPA Robotics Challenge unveiled the ATLAS humanoid robot, which will be used by seven competing teams. Developed by Boston Dynamics, ATLAS is an imposing 1.8m 150Kg bipedal humanoid robot, powered via a tethered cable. Another six teams have designed their own robots, and interestingly five of these are humanoid, and one a four-limbed simian-inspired robot.

In the euRathlon project we are taking a different approach in that we don’t expect, or require, the competing robots to be humanoid or zoomorphic.

by   -   July 8, 2013

Over the last 20 years or so, a sense that science has become conservative or incrementalist has developed, and calls for change in the approaches to public funding of research have been heard from various quarters. Several notions have been suggested of what should be supported instead of “normal science” or “incremental innovation.” Among them we have heard calls for more “high risk-high reward” research, or for more “highly creative” science, or for more “cutting edge” or “frontier” research and, more recently in language adopted by funding agencies, that more “transformational research” is needed.

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The first competition of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) was a software simulation of humanoid rescue work. The 6 best teams were to be allocated ATLAS robots for the next stage of the challenge, but there’s been an interesting change. Gill Pratt, the DRC program manager, and Nate Koenig, the CTO of OSRF, will be on reddit from 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET today (June 27) to discuss the results of the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) and the future of the DARPA Simulator with the community.



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