The 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, helped accelerate the development of robots that could play a critical role in disaster recovery. The most recent DARPA Robotics Challenge in Pomona, Calif., brought together 23 international teams to compete in a disaster response obstacle course of sorts, challenging entrants’ robots to walk through rubble, climb stairs, drive alone, trip circuit breakers and turn valves. Winners like first-place Team Kaist of Daejeon, South Korea, and second-place Team IHMC Robotics of Pensacola, Fla., demonstrate that we are fast approaching a time when robots can capably maneuver incident sites when the risk of sending in human responders is too great. Source: Engadget

Read More