THOR-MANG SMASH! Seriously, all on its own this robot look like an enormous, lumbering hulk. Well, it is lumbering, but it really isn’t ginormous, standing only 4′ 10″ tall.
And wow! This little dude looks like it’s ready to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge right now!
But, despite this excellent video from the qualification trials, the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (held in June 2015) are going to be much more difficult. The robots need to go into a disaster area, so they’ll be required to walk over a debris strewn disaster zone, drive a car, open doors, use tools and climb stairs – all without being connected to power cords or wired in to the communications team. In fact, the specs specifically state that communication may be intermittent during the task.
One thing the Robotis team can be very sure of: THOR-MANG can get up all on its own.
And that is definitely one of the challenges – given that humans are not allowed to intervene if their robots fall over.
THOR-MANG is the first of the humanoid style robots we have covered. And, I have to say, I think the humanoid shape might actually be a disadvantage in this challenge. It seems a lot less stable than RoboSimian (who lumbers along on four legs) but what the hell do I know, given that I have no robot building experience, and pretty much 90% of the robots in the challenge are humanoid in shape.
THOR-MANG is representing Seoul National University, but he is by any measure a group enterprise. While the University oversaw the project, and worked on the robot’s ability to perceive and recognize patterns, the hardware was created by Robotis and the interface between robot and human handlers was created by a private company SimLab. Talk about a lot of cooks in the kitchen!
We wish THOR-MANG the best of luck in the upcoming DARPA challenge, but our money is still on RoboSimian!