Robot Humanoids, Formula-Style

The New York Times’ John Markoff posted an article describing a new Pentagon contest concentrating on robotic first responders for disaster zones.  This article is fascinating because it suggests that the contest may be formula-style, with a one-size-fits-all humanoid robot, Atlas, from Boston Dynamics being offered as the vanilla robot to be supplied to all contestant teams.  The idea that humanoid robots are approaching a sufficiently satisfactory level of performance to be used for formula-style competitions is an important milestone that we have not seen yet at the human-scale level- only with tiny miniature androids in robot soccer contests.

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