Meet CHIMP, brainchild of team Tartan Rescue representing Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center. Like the other ‘bots we’ve introduced you to, CHIMP is going to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge being held on June 5th and 6th in California.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge aims to incentivise the awesome robot makers of the world to create robots that can go where no man has (or could) go before – into disaster zones, like the irradiated environment of Fukushima. And, with news this week about the robot that stalled in the Fukushima reactor, it has never been more clear that such a competition to advance this facet of robotics is a great idea. While robots are common place in the laboratory or on the factory floor, the rough and unexpected terrain of a disaster zone has stymied many developers.
The robots competing in the finals of the DRC will have to complete some impressive challenges: driving a car, moving over rubble strewn terrain and completing tool based tasks. They have to complete these tasks in the face of spotty communication with their team and under stringent time limitations. This diagram from DARPA highlights the tasks of the competition.
So, back to the incredible ‘bot at hand: CHIMP!
CHIMP is the second ape-like robot that we’ve profiled. Unlike the humanoid robots, CHIMP gets about on four limbs – rolling on motorized, rubber tracks like a tank rather than in a bipedal stance. Its designers argue that humans are always unconsciously thinking about their balance when standing and walking on two legs. This is why people are always more nimble and balanced than even the best robot.1
When CHIMP needs to perform tasks like opening a valve or opening a door, it transforms, raising up on it’s hind legs. Did you catch that? It’s a TRANSFORMER ROBOT!
Wait. No! It is a transformer robot that can climb a ladder!! The future is here, my friends!
Another feature that sets CHIMP apart from the competition is its excellent grippers.
This really shows in tasks like using a drill.
Who knows what DARPA thinks but this video seems pretty damn convincing to us! CHIMP is looking ready for anything!
RoboSimian, you may have lost your favored top spot, we’re putting our totally pretend money on CHIMP. At least until Boston Dynamics reveals some more details about their entries in the competition.
Stayed tuned for more robot profiles in the lead up to the Darpa Robotics Challenge and make sure to check out our other favorites.