Watch Humanoid Robots Compete to Become the First Responders of the Future

DARPA is broadcasting their robotics challenge live today. If you like robots, this is for you.

The contestants.
National Journal
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Brian Resnick
Dec. 20, 2013, 5:51 a.m.

They’re fright­en­ing look­ing, the ro­bots. Adult-male-tall hu­manoid tangles of met­al, cables, and cir­cuitry form be­ings that are more like the jae­gers from Pa­cific Rim than the ser­vantile be­ings in iRo­bot. And one day, the des­cend­ants of these pieces of tech­no­logy may save you from a burn­ing build­ing.

This week­end, DARPA (De­fense Ad­vanced Re­search Pro­jects Agen­cies) is host­ing a com­pet­i­tion for ro­bot first re­spon­ders in Flor­ida. Sev­en­teen teams — from uni­versit­ies, private com­pan­ies, and NASA — are com­pet­ing to demon­strate how their cre­ations can be the first re­spon­ders of the fu­ture. As brave as a per­son can be, there are still some work en­vir­on­ments com­pletely un­suit­able for hu­mans. For ex­ample: a ra­dio­act­ive spill at a nuc­le­ar-power plant. The ro­bots will com­pete in tasks that seem ba­sic to us hu­mans — drive a vehicle through an obstacle course, climb a lad­der, re­move debris from a door, open that door, use power tools, and un­reel a hose. If you’re bored at work today, DARPA is broad­cast­ing the tri­als live:

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