Robot Rescue Coming to Future Disaster Sites

teamRobots are becoming more advanced every day, and soon they may be at the forefront of disaster response and rescue work in the most hazardous areas, thanks in part to the DARPA Robotics Challenge competition.

The global competition is focused on designing robots that can perform dangerous work after a disaster such as a nuclear accident, earthquake, or tsunami. This year, 25 of the world’s leading robots groups –12 teams from the U.S., five from Japan, four from the European Union, three from South Korea, and one from Hong Kong – are competing for $3.5 million in prizes.

The competing robots have to demonstrate their capabilities in a simulated disaster in Pomona, CA. They must be able to open doors, turn valves, engage an emergency shut-off switch, operate machinery, and perform other tasks essential for disaster response – with progressively less communications from their operators.

Some of the top contenders:

  • CHIMP – a four-limbed, human-size robot that moves on tank-like treads and stands 5’2”, with front arms stretching out almost 10 feet
  • Momaro – featuring four legs with wheels built for rugged terrains, and adult-sized arms with individually controllable fingers on its grippers, and
  • Walkman – an adult-sized humanoid bot equipped with sensors, a stereo-vision system, 3D laser scanner, and protective covers allowing it to withstand impacts from falling objects.

Click here to view all the finalists and their bots, and learn more about the competition!

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