29 October 2012

28 degrees of freedom

GFE Platform, Boston Dynamics
The DARPA Robotics Challenge, one of the most rigorous tests of robotic ability ever conceived, kicked off on [24 October]. The contest sets teams of engineers from around the US and the world a set of Herculean robot trials that promise to take automatons' abilities far beyond anything that's come before.

The emphasis is on testing robots' abilities to work in difficult situations in environments designed for humans. "It's the grandest, the most exciting, and possibly the most important robotics project ever," says Dennis Hong [who] leads a team that plan to field the humanoid THOR (Tactical Hazardous Operations Robot) [which] will be in training over the next year, learning tough skills like scrambling over debris, driving cars and climbing ladders. 
-- report

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