Carnegie Mellon University has been working on its CHIMP robot that will participate in the DARPA Robotic Challenge for a long time. The first time we talked about the robot was in March of this year when CHIMP was first announced. The university has announced that CHIMP will be taking part in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials on December 20-24.
Google has acquired robotics engineering firm Boston Dynamics, known for its animal-like BigDog, WildCat, Cheetah, and Atlas robots, as former Android chief turned Google-robot lead Andy Rubin increases the search giant's "moonshot" efforts into the field. The deal was confirmed late Friday, the NYTimes reports, and will see Boston Dynamics continue its existing military contracts; according to Google execs, however, the company has no plans on becoming a military contractor on its own. Instead, it looks likely that projects like the DARPA Robotics Challenge are more in Google's sights.
DARPA has been hosting a Robotics Challenge since last year that challenged some participants to create robots that can be used in the real world. The official name for the Valkyrie robot given to it by NASA is R5. The bot stands 1.9 meters tall and weighs in at 125 kilograms. The robot has 44 degrees of freedom and is powered by batteries.
Robots might not be at a Terminator level of sophistication, but the technology is growing rapidly, and NASA has revealed what it calls "another milestone" in humanoid space robotics: legs for the Robonaut 2, more commonly called R2. The agency's engineers are presently working on the climbing legs, which will give the robot a new degree of mobile freedom, enabling it to perform more tasks than currently possible.
DARPA, which caught widespread attention when its Cheetah-based Wild Cat robot went viral, has announced that a total of seventeen teams have qualified for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials. With this latest statement, four additional teams have built complete robotic systems, joining thirteen existing teams later this month to have their robots tested at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
One of the most hazardous of underwater jobs is diving shipwrecks. Divers explore shipwrecks to retrieve objects of historical significance or to help in recovery efforts. The work is so hazardous that much of it is carried out by unmanned robots.
When it comes to flying creations, inspiration is often gathered from a common pool of creatures: birds, insects, maybe a dragon or two. Researchers at New York University went a more unconventional route, and designed a flying robot based on, of all things, a jellyfish. The robot doesn't need water to pull off its gravity-defying maneuvers, however, prompting the creators to call it an "aerial jellyfish".
In what some are calling the first robot suicide (issues of sentience aside), a Roomba reportedly activated itself in an Austrian home and rolled itself over to a hot stove top, where it pushed a cooking pot off the surface and proceeded to wheel around the hot area before eventually melting to the surface and burning up. The Roomba was a 760 model, and amazingly enough managed to burn down to ashes and unfortunate little cogs.