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Watch NASA’s Amazing Monkey Robot Walk, Climb and Clear Obstacles

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory drew some raised eyebrows when it first announced its latest hi-tech robot, based on primates, called Robosimian. But now it's being put into action—and it's amazing.


Robosimian—also known, amusingly, as Clyde—was JPL's official entry at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in December 2013. Designed to mimic the posture and movements of a primate, the bot is designed primarily for search and rescue operations, and this video shows it climbing and clambering over obstacles, clearing obstacles from its path, and even opening and passing through doorways. Boston Dynamics, now owned by Google, is famous for its animal-inspired robots—but, clearly, JPL is giving it a run for its money. [JPL]


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The robot is undeniably impressive, but it always annoys me when the video is sped up. It seems misleading to me because it's an acknowledgement that at real speed this robot is next to useless. Even at 4X it's barely moving at a practical speed.

Hopefully, in the next 5-10 years the rate of movement improves dramatically.