Watch DARPA's very expensive robots fall over
Last week, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). The military loves their acronyms.
Teams were given 60 minutes to run their bipedal robots through an obstacle course. Gravity turned out to be a greater challenge than expected.
To their credit, nearly all of the robots survived their falls. Only three robots managed to complete the course, the South Korean Team KAIST took home the $2 million first prize, while Google-owned Boston Dynamics got the $1 million second prize, and Team Tartan Rescue from Carnegie Mellon University earned the $500,000 third prize.
“It’s amazing how we anthropomorphize these things,” DARPA program manager Dr. Gill Pratt said yesterday at a media briefing. “It’s a pile of aluminum and copper wire and software. I don’t cheer for my laptop. But people cheer for these [robots]. And of course when it falls, we all feel terrible, ‘Uh, it got hurt.’ ”