Written by Jessica L. Tozer
Hey you, robot enthusiast!
Do you want two million dollars? Can you build amazing robots? If so, have we got the most awesome contest FOR YOU! No, seriously. This isn’t the premise for a 1980′s SciFi action flick. This is for real, folks.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is offering millions to the person who creates a robot designed to handle disasters of epic proportion. The kind humans can’t handle, no matter how noble or determined we are. No, not the asteriod-hurling-to-Earth type (although truthfully that would currently fall into the things-we-can’t-handle-no-seriously-Bruce-Willis-isn’t-going-to-save-us category).
All epic movie montages aside, DARPA really is looking for robots that can handle things that are too dangerous for humans, like the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant last year.
This is more than just the work of a machine. This robot has to go above and beyond the call of autonomous duty in order to handle the kind of crisis we’re talking about. As awesome as that sounds, it’s not quite as unprecedented as you might think.
The truth is, the use of robots in serious situations is nothing new.