Watching robots fall over is strangely satisfying


credit: TriStar Pictures

Last Friday and Saturday the DARPA Robotics Challenge finals were held at Fairplex in Pomona, California. The DARPA Robotics Challenge was inspired by the tragic events of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and is all about creating robot rescuers that can assist in crises when humans cannot.

The teams that participated in the DARPA Robotics Challenge are making great strides in designing and creating robots that are the top of the line when it comes to balance, dexterity and adaptability. If future robots master these skills, they could save countless lives in disaster areas.

Twenty-three teams had competed in the challenge, but the top three teams were: Team Kaist from Korea with their robot DRC-Hubo came in first (winning $2 million), team IHMC Robotics from Florida with their Running Man Robot came in second place (winning $1 million), and team Tartan Rescue from Pennsylvania with their CHIMP robot came in third (winning $500,000).

Besides seeing lots of incredible advances in the field of robotics, hilarious things happened as well. Namely, robots falling over, and who doesn’t love that! Check out the short compilation video by IEEE Spectrum of all the different robots that fell over during the event. It’s bound to make you smile (or perhaps groan in sympathy, some of those fall look pretty rough).