ATLAS comes complete with two arms, two legs and a head along with 28 hydraulically actuated joints and two sets of hands. The hands were developed independently — one hand was developed by Sandia National Labs, and the other by iRobot. ATLAS also comes with an on-board real-time computer.
In June, DARPA held the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC), which called on qualified teams to control a robot in a virtual environment. DARPA offered a tour of the VRC challenge in a video:
Seven teams have been allowed to “train” with ATLAS to make sure that the robot is able to perform all of the required tasks that would qualify it for real-world hazard situations. The teams will be charged with incorporating software — or “brains and nerves” as DARPA put it in a release — into ATLAS’s “shell”.
Six other teams, which include groups from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Johnson Space Center as well as Virginia Tech, Drexel, Carnegie Mellon and SCHAFT Inc., have been given the green light to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials. That’s one step away from the finals, the winner of which will receive $2 million. The finals will be held in December 2014. These six teams received an initial contract and funding from DARPA from the start to develop hardware and software during the DRC.
The futuristic video featuring ATLAS is complete with techno jams and shows of robotic agility and strength. If you are terrified that the Terminator will soon be upon us, this video will come as no comfort.
2) Raising money for start-ups just got easier. The SEC has approved new rules that stand to improve the systems and speed around start-up fundraising. (via Wired)
3) Google’s Alfred, the local recommendations engine, is going the way of Google Reader — as in shutdown. (via VentureBeat)
5) And here’s Tom Thum at TEDx Sidney 2013 using his “mouth in strange ways in exchange for cash.” Don’t get any ideas. He’s a human beat box.