DARPA throws its big Robotics Challenge competition every year in an attempt to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to android-like capabilities. Although a lot of us like to laugh at the competition’s comical failures, the technology gets better every year, with the hopes that one day it will be able to avert disaster by going where humans cannot go.
Robotics on this competition’s level are very challenging. We forget that even simple tasks, such as opening a door, took mother nature millions of years to accomplish with bipedal sentient lifeforms, so programming a highly experimental machine running couture software to do semi-autonomously is not exactly as easy as setting the alarm clock on your iPhone.
We’re coming closer and closer to having these mechanized martyrs do some tasks that human beings simply cannot do — or at least can’t do and live to talk about it — and work alongside us as assistants on everything from menial to dangerous jobs. Progress is now compounding in this sector of high-tech, and some think it will only be a matter of years, not decades, till robots become a part of our daily lives.
As you can imagine, the military applications for semi-autonomous robots are plentiful, with explosive ordinance disposal, firefighting, rescue and operating in WMD-tainted areas being ideal areas of possible deployment.
This awesome video, courtesy of AOL’s Translogic, gives us a first hand look at why DARPA’s Robotics Challenge is so important and how its teams compete under tough conditions to achieve what was previously only the realm of science fiction.
Yes, there are some comical falls, but between the failures, the successes are a glimpse of what’s to come:
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