Darpa Robotics Challenge: SCHAFT’s HPR-2

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Many techies and businesses are keeping a close eye on the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and we here at Geek are no different!

DARPA has gathered some of the world’s top robotic experts to create a robot capable of rescue operations in a disaster area. The winner takes home a $2 million dollar prize, along with any additional attention of the corporations watching the contest. Last time we talked about the details of the challenge and one of the revealed robots, NASA’s Valkyrie. Now you get to meet the strongest robot in the world: Japan’s SCHAFT INC HPR-2 based biped!

While bipedal, the robot does not look as human as more conventional robots, with its long arms and squat torso. Weighing in at 209 lbs., the 4’10″ bot has a slow walking speed of 2 km/h, but its light weight gives it a significant advantage over its competitors. Plus it can stand back up after falling on its back – a skill many other robots have not yet seemed to master. Its long arms are able to performs task such as operating drills, and manipulating safety valves.

The robot is designed to be a first responder and as such comes equipped with ten times the strength of a normal human, and will enable it to lift and clear heavy debris during rescue operations. The innovative motor that powers the bot enables it to perform movements with an extra level of articulation not found in some of the other units.

With statistics like these, it’s not surprise that the HRP-2 ended up the winning robot this weekend, scoring 27 out of a possible 32 points. We will keep a lookout for more interesting robotic innovations from the Darpa Robotics Challenge.

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