A long-overdue robotics roundup

Focusing today on robotics in and around DARPA and the US Armed Forces, via Armed With Science. Military advances are a ‘pointer to the future’ where robotics will eventually assist older adults, the disabled and the rest of us in our daily lives. (We’ve also noted where other military protocols can work into assistive technologies–see ‘The Big Red Button’ emergency alert app.) :

  • Update on the DARPA Robotics Challenge: The Phase 3-Final originally set for December will take place 4-5 June in Pomona, California due to some changes in the third round specs including an emphasis on ‘cloud robotics’ and international applicability. DARPA’s program is strictly oriented to ground operations, disaster response and human supervision. Changes in spec include full wireless, tetherless and continuous operation–the operators communicate with the robots wirelessly only including periods of latency, their power source is 100 percent onboard, and the robots must be able to complete a sequence of eight tasks and recover in a ‘challenging environment’ without outside help. Plus DARPA is throwing in a secret challenge that looks like it will be disclosed only at the final. Specs have evolved to the point where there has been a withdrawal of a finalist which is now concentrating on commercialization despite the $2 million prize.  Here Come The Robots  Previously in TTA: DARPA Robotics field competition (Phase 2), Robotics Challenge winners
  • Robotics Secrets Revealed! In this humorous video, the Naval Research Lab’s Lucas, Octavia and PackBot set up some human furloughs (real enough) so that they get some rest. The reasoning behind their actions and the humans is explored. Robot Ruckus.
  • MAST’s Mini Robots and ‘microsystems’ may be in future used to locate, identify and engage high-priority targets by increasing situational awareness. This includes drones. Emphasis more on in-field use. Unfortunately written in Pentagon-ese. The Military’s Mini Robots
  • Meet a specialist in robotics. Interview with bomb disposal robot engineer Aaron O’Toole, awarded the Navy’s top engineering award in 2013. An area of his concentration is flexibility and fluidity of motion. Insights into how a developer looks at mobility and skill challenges. Meet the Scientists


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