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DARPA Will Give $2 Million To Whoever Completes This Obstacle Course – For Robots!

No word yet on whether it’ll include a bit where you swing over a big puddle.

Courtesy of Darpa Robotics Challenge


As anyone who’s ever tried to make it from the middle of the Maxim office to the bathroom without falling over piles of empty pizza boxes, unconscious writers, or what possibly used to be an inflatable zebra knows, we’re pretty fond of obstacle courses. So much so, in fact, that our fearless leader, Editor in Chief Dan Bova, once underwent the grueling freeze-a-thon that is Tough Mudder (although that was mostly just because he wanted to show off his new unitard). That’s why we’re pretty fascinated by DARPA’s new program – an obstacle course designed specifically for robots, with a $2 million prize. The aim is to build a new breed of rescue ‘bot, one that can crawl over, walk around, or remove obstacles in its path, while also tackling tricky stuff like connecting and operating fire hoses. Gizmodo has a solid rundown of each obstacle on the lengthy course, and it’s fair to say, there are more than a couple of people in this very office that would struggle to complete it, particularly the tricky third section that involves having to open a door in the right direction.


For a list of all the current entrants, check out the Robotics Challenge site, which shows them in all their Transformers-on-a-budget glory. Personally, we’re rooting for Schaft Inc.’s creation, simply because it looks like an adorable robot gorilla. And because, y’know, how were we not going to support the team called “Schaft”?


Want more robot goodness? Meet The Man Who's Taking Over Detroit With His Giant Robocop Statue, or check out The Robot That Will Follow You Anywhere.