My posts will probably have a higher science content than you might expect, but I'll do my best to make sure they're still interesting; on that note, on to the main feature!
Following on from the success of their Driverless Vehicle competitions, DARPA (the American Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) have moved on to more "traditional" robotics, with their DARPA Robotics Challenge - the goal is to produce a "rescue robot" for use in disaster-rescue operations.
Every robot entered into the competition has to be able to:-
- Drive a truck to the disaster area
- Cross rubble on its own
- Clear debris from a door and make its way inside
- Climb ladders
- Use a tool to smash through a concrete wall
- Close a valve near a leaking pipe
- Use a firehose to extinguish a fire
The majority of the entries are what might be called traditional androids, such as the Boston Dynamics Atlas below; these designs are mainly differentiated by clever programming and sensor design.
|Boston Dynamics ATLAS|
|Virginia Tech THOR|
|Carnegie Mellon CHIMP|
As a techno-geek, it's great to see that reality is finally catching up to the promise of film and television; it's also interesting to see how much the designs mirror fictional robots.
And of course, now you know what the robot apocalypse will look like :D