Disaster at Fukushima set off a race to develop disaster response robots

The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials are taking place this month.
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In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 photo, engineer Nick Letwin watches as the CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform robot, known as CHIMP, is put through some paces as it pulls a fire hose from during a preparation run at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon researchers are testing the new search-and-rescue robot that will compete in the U.S. Defense Department’s upcoming national robotics competition in Florida. Competitors from other schools and companies will be vying for a $2 million U.S. Defense Department prize. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-sci-fi-robots-readied-big.html#jCp20131215-222844.jpg

On Tuesday, curiosity and expectations were ratcheted up significantly with the unveiling of NASA’s Johnson Space Center entry, a humanoid robot called Valkyrie (R5). This is a 6-foot-two-inch, battery operated robot weighing 286 pounds with 44 degree of freedom. (The Valkyrie has seven degree of freedom arms, for example, with actuated wrists and six degree of freedom hands. Each hand has three fingers and a thumb.)

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-valkyrie-darpa-robotics-contender.html#jCp20131215-223030.jpg

When walking on muddy or bumpy roads, the two arms of DRC-HUBO become extra legs, enabling stable and agile movements.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-kaist-hubo-ready-darpa-robotics.html#jCp20131215-223213.jpg

On Monday, July 8, 2013, the seven teams that progressed from DARPA’s Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) arrived at the headquarters of Boston Dynamics in Waltham, Mass. to meet and learn about their new teammate, the ATLAS robot. Like coaches starting with a novice player, the teams now have until late December 2013 to teach ATLAS the moves it will need to succeed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials where each robot will have to perform a series of tasks similar to what might be required in a disaster response scenario.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-darpa-atlas-robot-unveiled-video.html#jCp

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