While everyone else is looking for batteries that last longer, DARPA hopes to roll out battery technology that can self destruct on command. Earlier this month, the agency awarded a $4.7 million contract to SRI International to develop a transient power supply that can be triggered to vanish.
While Pacific Rim might have made robots big again in popular media, the real work being done on robots isn’t in combat operations. Every time a firefighter loses his life on the job, or people are asked to go into a toxic or nuclear environment to perform cleanup, the same job could be performed by a robot without risk to humans. DARPA is helping advance robotic technology with its DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) with the intent that one day soon robots could perform vital disaster relief work and save more lives.
The DRC began with a virtual robotic challenge (VRC), open to teams from around the world, to prove they could program a robot to perform the kinds of tasks that go hand-in-hand with disasters. These tasks include navigating around hazards, the ability to use tools, remaining mobile and functional, and solid communication with human handlers. A total of 26 teams from eight countries were selected to compete. Continue reading
Participants in the DARPA Robotics Challenge completed the competition’s Virtual Robotics Challenge this week. In the five-day event, 26 teams programmed a virtual robot to complete complex tasks. Seven of those teams have advanced and will now work with Boston Dynamics’ Atlas humanoid robot during the next phase of the competition.