From The New York Times, here’s a summary report from DARPA’s Robotics Challenge 2013. The competition is made of eight trials that include climbing ladders, walking across rough terrain, and clearing debris, showcasing how robots can aid in future disaster responses.
Out of 16 competing teams, eight robot finalists earned places in the 2014 Grand Challenge where the team of the robot winner will be awarded a $2 million prize. From Extreme Tech:
The Schaft team won in four out of eight tasks — terrain, ladder, debris, and hose — and accrued a total score of 27 points. Second-place IHMC Robotics, which used Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, came in second with two task wins and 20 points.
Rounding out the rest of the DRC results, Tartan Rescue (Carnegie Mellon + NREC) came in third with its CHIMP robot, picking up 18 points, and MIT came in fourth with an Atlas. NASA’s Valkyrie sadly scored zero points. A full break down of the contest and the results can be found on the DRC Trials website. Some cool videos from the event can be found on DARPA’s YouTube channel.
Watch more robot videos.
With three wheels, pneumatic motors, and driven by a joystick, this ladybug of a car is compelling for both its unusual form and its power source: compressed air. The AIRPod was developed as a sustainable, zero-emission solution for urban commuting, airport vehicles, messenger services, and more. Initially conceived of in 1991 and promised for production since 2000, the car is finally expected to be on sale for around 7,000 euros sometime in 2014. Via Core77:
One tank lasts over 125 miles (200 km) and takes only two minutes to fill up again at an average price of just one euro per fill.
Bonus: the eco-friendly engine technology can be built into boats, backup generators, farm machines, and more.
In the archives, more cars and more sustainability videos, including these two jaw-dropping favorites: an air-powered LEGO car, behind-the-scenes at the Tesla factory and the Moser Lamp.
Updated video link.
This is what 20-year-old Romanian Raul Oaida (above) and Melbourne entrepreneur Steve Sammartino did with more than 500,000 LEGO pieces and four orbital engines: The Super Awesome Micro Project — a full sized LEGO car with an air-powered engine, and 256 pistons that also appear to be made from LEGO. It goes around 20mph and they don’t go much faster than that because they really don’t want to crash it.
More LEGO videos, including this awesome DIY project: build your own LEGO microscope.
Need a battery-powered, modular, humanoid robot with strong legs and an amazing array of built-in cameras to help set up habitation on Mars for pioneering astronauts? NASA’s got you covered. Meet Valkyrie.
"The space agency’’’s new Valkyrie — a 6 foot 2 inch tall (1.9 meters) robot with a glowing NASA logo on its chest — bears an uncanny resemblance to Marvel’s superhero Iron Man, but this space age automaton was built for work, not comic book heroics. A team of engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., designed and built Valkyrie in just nine months, according to press reports."
NASA created Valkyrie for DARPA’s upcoming Robotics Challenge Trials on December 20-21, 2013, where it will be in competition with 17 teams from around the world including NASA JPL’s RoboSimian, Carnegie Mellon University-NREC’s CHIMP, and Japan’s SCHAFT.
There are always more robot videos in the archives.