Sunday, December 22, 2013

Metalstock?

The competition at DARPA's latest Robot Challenge in Homestead Florida was hot and heavy. It seems that robots are getting more versatile. This year's competition was for rescue robots. For some reason, it's being called a Woodstock for robots - probably not by people who were at (or alive during) the original Woodstock. At least I didn't hear any stories of Robots ODing. From the NYT.

An international competition to pave the way for a new generation of rescue robots was dominated by a team of Japanese roboticists who were students in the laboratory of a pioneer in the design of intelligent humanoid machines.

Their team, called Schaft, completed the eight required tasks in the challenge almost flawlessly, losing points only because the wind blew a door out of its robot’s grasp and because the robot was not yet able to climb out of the vehicle after it successfully navigated an obstacle course.

The trials, held on the infield of the Homestead-Miami Speedway, included 16 teams that competed for a chance at the $2 million prize next year, and eight were selected to move on. The eight are now eligible for $1 million in support to help them prepare for the final event.

The company started by the winning team has just been bought by Google.