Robots falling over at the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

Admit It, All You Really Want to See Is Robots Falling Over

Admit It, All You Really Want to See Is Robots Falling Over

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 8 2015 12:25 PM

Admit It, All You Really Want to See Is Robots Falling Over

robot

The DARPA Robotics Challenge is all about developing robots to assist in crises. Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the competition tests robots' skills and abilities in stressful conditions. The goal is to create robot rescuers that can go places humans can't.

On Sunday, Team Kaist of Korea and its robot DRC-Hubo took first place, winning $2 million. Team IHMC Robotics from Florida won second place and $1 million for its Running Man robot. And Tartan Rescue from Pennsylvania came in third and won $500,000 for the CHIMP robot. Twenty-three groups competed.

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The teams that participated made strides in developing new and refined approaches for difficult robot skills like balance, dexterity, and adaptability. These advances could really save lives in disaster zones.

But also, a bunch of the robots fell down in weird and hilarious ways during the event. Thankfully IEEE Spectrum compiled these moments into the best blooper reel we could ask for. DARPA Robotics Challenge organizer Gill Pratt said in a statement, "We heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell."

Can't get enough? Check out this Slate video of robots playing—or trying to play—soccer.
 

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.