The ATLAS Robot Will Soon Be Walking Without a Tether

As impressive as Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot ATLAS moves, it's still not completely free to explore wherever it wants. Thick trunk lines keep it tethered to machinery and pumps that provide power, hyrdraulic fluids, and of course communications and data. But researchers at MIT are now working to free ATLAS of its… » 4/08/14 11:20am 4/08/14 11:20am

This Is The Room Where The Internet Was Born

For something as ubiquitous as the internet today, it certainly isn't easy to find where it all started. I don't mean historically, I mean logistically: 3420 Boelter Hall is a tiny room in a basement hallway of a large nondescript building on the sprawling UCLA campus. » 3/05/14 3:00pm 3/05/14 3:00pm

This Is Too Awesome: DARPA's Building Real Flying Transformers!

Between their remote locations and the ever present threat of ambush (or worse yet, IED), it's simply getting too dangerous to deliver the average 100,000 pounds of supplies that far-flung American forward combat bases require each week. Air drops by cargo plane or helicopter are one option, but DARPA researchers may… » 2/13/14 11:43am 2/13/14 11:43am

Here's DARPA's Hilariously Endearing Birthday Card to Itself

Why is DARPA's terrifying humanoid robot having such a good time twirling sparklers around like its flying on ecstasy? Because 56 years ago, the Advanced Research Projects Agency was born. (It only got the "Defense" in its name later) Happy birthday DARPA! Just, uh, please don't give Atlas a wish. Bad idea. » 2/07/14 2:10pm 2/07/14 2:10pm

Google Might Withdraw From DARPA Robotics Challenge (Phew!)

Google's purchase of bonkers robotics company Boston Dynamics in December prompted lots of hand-wringing: owning a Department of Defense supplier doesn't jive with many people's concept of "don't be evil." At the time, Google said it wasn't interested in becoming a military contractor, and today's rumor seems to confirm… » 1/23/14 2:10pm 1/23/14 2:10pm

Google's Newly Acquired SCHAFT Robot Walks Away A Winner

The teams have broken down their robots and packed them up in crates and suitcases, loaded them into trucks and taken them on airplanes and gone home. Some will lick their wounds and rebuild to fight another day. The lucky ones will get a million dollars each from DARPA to continue developing their bots. » 12/22/13 12:20pm 12/22/13 12:20pm

Team SCHAFT Sticks It to Competition, Wins DARPA Robotics Challenge

After two days of competition, Tokyo's team SCHAFT has won the DARPA Robotics Challenge in Miami. With 27 out of a possible 32 points in eight challenges, SCHAFT pulled out a decisive victory. IHMC Robotics (20 points), Tartan Rescue (18 points), MIT (16 points) and Robosimian (14 points) round out the top five. We… » 12/21/13 6:54pm 12/21/13 6:54pm

Bot Cameras, Lidar Eyes, and the Driverless Racetrack of the Future

Gizmodo's coverage of the DARPA Robotics Challenge continues with day two at the Homestead Speedway south of Miami. The weekend has arrived and the crowds are here with their kids, cheering on the bots. » 12/21/13 4:01pm 12/21/13 4:01pm

Watch the DARPA Challenge and the Future Of Robotics Live Right Here

We've seen countless videos of ATLAS and other advanced robots strutting their stuff, but now it's officially time for all of them to put their money where their mouths are (wait, do robots have mouths?) as the DARPA Robotics Challenge officially gets underway. And you can watch a live stream of the events as they… » 12/21/13 12:20pm 12/21/13 12:20pm

On Site at the Machine Olympics of DARPA's Robotics Challenge

The DARPA Robotics Challenge, or DRC, kicked off today at the Homestead-Miami Speedway about 30 miles south of Miami. A total of sixteen teams from around the world are here to challenge each other today and tomorrow in timed trials, and to compete for funding from DARPA, the Pentagon's mad science arm. A seventeenth… » 12/20/13 2:37pm 12/20/13 2:37pm

Handicapping the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge

Today kicks off the two-day mechanolympics of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials at Homestead Miami Speedway. With teams from around the world competing in eight tasks, only one will take home the purse. Just a few hours in—watch live here—it's still any robot's game. We've got your odds right here, so you can bet on… » 12/20/13 12:18pm 12/20/13 12:18pm

DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s

From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the Terminator movies. They… » 12/18/13 3:51pm 12/18/13 3:51pm

NASA's New Robot Looks Like Iron Man, May Save Your Life One Day

Let's be honest: Most robots look pretty dumb these days. Whether it's the little disk-shaped Roomba that cleans your floor or the jumble of rods and wires that builds your car, these machines seem—for lack of a better term—rudimentary. Not the Valkyrie. » 12/10/13 4:30pm 12/10/13 4:30pm

This Space Surveillance Telescope Tracks Wayward Satellites

As nations around the world launch more and more satellites into geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, the danger of them accidentally colliding and creating a Gravity-esque cascade of destruction increases exponentially. To keep tabs on everything zooming around 22,000 miles above the surface, DARPA's developed this… » 12/09/13 11:40am 12/09/13 11:40am

This Foldable Space Telescope Would Put Big Optics in Small Rockets

For all the futuristic advancements packed into modern space-based telescopes, they all still rely on the same bulky, heavy glass optics that Galileo used centuries ago. But thanks to this DARPA project, future telescopes could eventually use optics as thin as saran wrap to peer into deep space. » 12/05/13 3:40pm 12/05/13 3:40pm

Human-ish ATLAS Robot Can (Almost) Traverse a Teenager's Messy Bedroom

ATLAS, Boston Dynamic's great robotic hope and the obvious star of DARPA's Robotics Challenge, is one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever created. It's capable of surprisingly human like movements and motions, and could one day replace soldiers in the battlefield the same way drones have replaced pilots in the… » 11/22/13 6:20pm 11/22/13 6:20pm

Book that Doomsday Bunker...DARPA Holds Contest for Real-Life Skynet

Allow us to recommend a few good bomb shelters, missile silos, and doomsday timeshares, because DARPA, the advanced defence arm of the US government, has just offered a two million dollar prize for the creation of the real-life Skynet. Uh oh. » 11/06/13 10:22pm 11/06/13 10:22pm