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Welcome to the Super Bowl For Robots

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A football-playing robot from the 1960 TV series The Jetsons.

The U.S. Defense Advance Research Projects Agency's robotics competition is aimed at developing a robot that can operate in areas of potential danger to humans.


The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring a robotics competition aimed at developing a robot that can function in disaster zones where the conditions could be threatening to humans.

The 17 teams in the competition are working toward a $2-million prize to advance their research. The teams will be evaluated Friday and Saturday in Florida for how well they complete several tasks, including opening doors and getting into an all-terrain vehicle.

Some of the teams, such as Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Laboratories, qualified for the competition by doing well in a virtual version and were given a prebuilt robot to use with their software. Lockheed's entry received assistance from students at the University of Pennsylvania and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "We want the system to be intuitive to untrained operators," says Lockheed researcher Bill Borgia.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers built their CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform (CHIMP) from scratch over the last 14 months specifically for the DARPA challenge. "We wanted to design a robot that had roughly human form, so that it fits in the environment that humans operate in," says CHIMP researcher Anthony Stentz. "But we didn't want to take on the difficult task of building a machine that is too humanlike."

From Associated Press
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