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Will the Headless Ape Robot Win the DARPA Challenge?

timothy posted 1 year,27 days | from the don't-make-robo-simian-angry dept.

Robotics 37

New submitter pausz42 writes "The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Stanford University are promoting RoboSimian, a simian-inspired robot able to face environments which are hostile for men. In the DARPA Robotics Challenge the selected teams have to develop an autonomous robot able to get into a car, drive it to a disaster site and perform hazardous activities. While this prototype is the only one that that doesn't have a humanoid shape (and it's quite creepy, since it does not have a head), it seems that its three fingered limbs are better fitted for some of the difficult tasks required by the DARPA challenge."

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hostile environment? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | 1 year,27 days | (#44662651)

"able to face environments which are hostile for men."

So, like a room full of feminists?

Re:hostile environment? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662745)

Or simply women :)

Re:hostile environment? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663031)

Or a public bathroom full of 'gays'...

Re:hostile environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44665511)

This would be too easy...they would already be occupied...

Re:hostile environment? (4, Funny)

jovius (974690) | 1 year,27 days | (#44662813)

More like a room full of mirrors.

Re:hostile environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663037)

Don't hate others just because you hate yourself, your own life, your own culture, your own nation, your own parents, and everyone who gave you every opportunity they could :)

Re:hostile environment? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662889)

Haw haw! Got any nigger or Polack jokes, Max?

Re:hostile environment? (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | 1 year,27 days | (#44662995)

Blacks and ethnic minorities are protected under law. Privileged, university-educated white women aren't.

Re:hostile environment? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662999)

Nigger pole joke?

Re:hostile environment? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663975)

Haw haw! Got any nigger or Polack jokes, Max?

First, it would be black people or Pole jokes. Last I checked "feminist" was not considered a pejorative word (although with modern Political Correctness you can never be completely sure).

Second, I don't see how such a joke could be appropriate here, since neither black people nor Poles are known to have issues with men, unlike feminists.

Third, my joke was not a joke about feminists. But of course it needs a minimum of thinking to recognize that.

And it is a fact that for many men, a room full of feminists would be a hostile environment.

Re:hostile environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662989)

I'm more worried about the seperation of the military from Congress for there is nothing more hostile to man than the pro-corporate Congress.

Re:hostile environment? (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663863)

How about a congress without limits? Where they can pass anything they want? You want less hostility? You want to reduce the chances of the US becoming a police state? Then insist on limited government. We have a framework for that - it's called the constitution.

Re:hostile environment? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,27 days | (#44666629)


Re:hostile environment? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,27 days | (#44666617)

"able to face environments which are hostile for men."

So, like a room full of feminists?

Since it is headless, would a shark's head help?

According to Betteridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662721)


No neck != headless (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662723)

Just paint a smiley on it :)

IEEE video was underwhelming at first but then it quickly got extremely impressive: that's a very nice design they've got there, way more than is at first apparent. Only thing lacking is bouncing, jumping, and speed and it would fully live up to it's name.

However the hand fingers need both individual base individual centre axis rotation as well as individual common centre axis rotation, the shown offset 2-1 grasp is good for some things, but an axially symmetric 1-1-1 is good for other things like picking up small objects like nuts (the metal kind) or small stones, and a linear 1-1-1 is good for picking up bars and tubes without chasing them all over the place (the human hand does this differently and imperfectly).

Three-fingered limbs are better? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,27 days | (#44662743)

So perhaps Homer Simpson might actually be well suited for working at, say, Fukashima?

Re:Three-fingered limbs are better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662845)

Homer Simpson has four fingers on a hand. Which would mean, were he working at Fukushima, that he did something to annoy the mob...several times.

Re:Three-fingered limbs are better? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664915)

Take a look... Three fingers and a thumb. It's even been used in jokes in the show. []

Re:Three-fingered limbs are better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44674241)

you missed previous AC's point. 3+1 != 3

How will they arm it? (1)

vik (17857) | 1 year,27 days | (#44662875)

I presume someone is planning offensive capabilities to get the fuunding?

Vik :v)

Re:How will they arm it? (2)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663019)

Don't hate on DARPA. However much you might dislike the USA or it's military, DARPA does a bunch of cool stuff. Quite a bit of which has nothing to do with weapons.

In this case they want a robot that can go into areas with biological, chemical, or nuclear hazards and preform as well as a Human can. The Fukishima nuclear incident (or disaster if you prefer) showed why current robots suck. Imagine if one of these things was able to activate a pressure release valve. Even with some radioactive release, they could have avoided the hydrogen explosion.

Oh, if you feel like bashing the US Government, then I'll go ahead and feed you. The keyword is "safety." According to politicians, no freedom, no cost* is too much. Everything is for a safer world.

*All costs are billed to the US tax payer. Major campaign contributors should set up a meeting to discuss tax brakes to avoid these costs. Some "Truth Enhancement" may or may not be used. Read the full thousand page bill for details.

Re:How will they arm it? (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663445)

Oh! If only someone were to apply the tax brakes.

Re:How will they arm it? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,27 days | (#44666677)

I presume someone is planning offensive capabilities to get the fuunding?

Vik :v)

Yeah, Cyberdyne.

beaten by teens outside Eagles Lodge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662891)

"WWII vet, beaten by teens outside Eagles Lodge, dies"

To think that Shorty survived a month on Okinawa, shot in the leg, comes home, serves others, and is beaten to death by two Trayvons armed with heavy flashlights.

No way can I wrap my mind around these sub-humans. Baby shot between the eyes, three black teens beat a white teen nearly to death on a school bus, three black (or whatever) thugs gun down a white young man on the street.

And Obama, Oprah, Jackson, Sharpton and the other race-baiters are all...crickets.

Law and Oder; JTS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44662909)

Someone leaked the script of Law and Oder; JTS and here's how the Trayvon story goes ....

Eighth grade honor student Trayvon Martin is walking home from church, eager to do his homework.
Aryan Nation member George Zimmerman is driving around in his pickup truck with Confederate flag license plate and decals.
Zimmerman spots Martin in the dark by the light glowing from the little boy’s halo.
The Klansman takes chase, hunting Trayvon down like a dog.
The budding football star nearly outruns the racist, but he stops when he comes to a “Do Not Enter” sign.
Unwilling to disobey a lawful sign, he turns to face his attacker.
The child attempts to reason with his attacker, but the illiterate power-mad cop-wannabe is not inclined to listen to reason, or pleas for compassion.
Despite numerous specific orders from police officers to not leave his vehicle, Zimmerman exits his truck and says, “Any last words, ****?”
“Praise Jesus. God bless you, Sir,” replies the helpless youngster.
Zimmerman drags the future Nobel Peace Prize winner on top of him.
A witness sees the youngster repeatedly swinging his arms, apparently attempting to make the sign of the cross.
“White-Hispanic Power!” screams Zimmerman, as he empties the high-capacity clip loaded with armor-piercing hollow-point bullets from his semi-automatic assault pistol.
Zimmerman then fiendishly punches himself in the face, breaking his nose, and repeatedly bangs his head on the sidewalk while screaming “Help me! Help me!” which obviously is a secret racist code for “Heil Hitler.”
When he is finished murdering Martin, Zimmerman gets back into his gas-guzzling, globe-warming pickup truck and makes his escape.
The last thing poor Trayvon sees before he dies is the “Bush-Cheney 2004” bumper sticker.

Re:Law and Oder; JTS (1)

paiute (550198) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664457)

The saddest part? You are not far off.

Right turn Clyde (2)

WinstonWoof (2918209) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663059)

Anyone else notice its called Clyde in the illustration at the end of the video clip? :)

Re:Right turn Clyde (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664123)

Yeah I thought that was a nice touch. So they just want robot gardeners then?

Grammar Enforcer Time (1)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663171)

should be: "able to face environments that are hostile to men"

Also, the summary doesn't explain why they don't just send women to environments that are hostile to men.

Don't make me do this again, Slashdot editors.

Re:Grammar Enforcer Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663849)

Haw haw!

Although not so common in these modern times, "men" can also refer to humans in general. I'm willing to use the term and risk being branded a phallocratic raper of cis-gendered womyn.

I never thought I'd hear the phrase (1)

Provocateur (133110) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663325)

Hey! We don't serve ttheir kind in HERE!!
in my lifetime, but...

Re:I never thought I'd hear the phrase (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663497)

Sadly, some here are old enough to have heard such words. Sadder still, there may yet be some places where they still may be heard.

Origin detected (1)

paiute (550198) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664449)

This robot comes from Planet Clair. A place with pink air, all the trees are red, and no one ever dies. Ah, because they were all robots! Not it makes sense.

Probably too late for this year (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664611)

The competition [] is in December 2013, and this team may not be ready by then. Here are the other robots being entered. []

The simulated challenge back in June revealed that the entrants' movement control software isn't very good yet. The winning team's simulated robot fell down 12 times. [] DARPA has posted only heavily censored videos [] of the results, possibly because they're so embarrassingly bad.

Some of the blame attaches to the simulator used. The Gazebo simulator's physics engine, which is borrowed from video games, is not good enough for the job. Video game simulators use tricks that look OK, but aren't physically realistic. That's no good when you're using them to match a real robot, or even if you're doing control based on reported forces from the simulator. This should be fixed in early 2014 when they get an honest physics engine from Mike Sherman, who knows what he's doing. (If you need a accurate humanoid robot simulator right now, try OpenHRP3 [] , from AIST in Japan.)

I suspect that the December 2013 event, which will be public, will be rather disappointing. But the planned 2014 event may be very impressive.

That's how it went with 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge for automatic driving, which was so pathetic it was covered by the Comedy Channel. Then in 2005, all the robot vehicles at the event could drive autonomously without running into anything and several finished the whole course with good times. The second day of the 2005 Grand Challenge was the moment when automatic driving became real to the world.

Hazard Pay Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44667635)

The Headless Ape robot will demonstrate its skill and dexterity by giving a 'hand-job' to the NASA Chief Executive in live online camera feed.

The Ape-Robot of Sleepy Hollow (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | 1 year,26 days | (#44668633)

Years ago my Dad oddly started referring to cordless phones as "headless phones" causing waves of shock and horror within our family. It is my hope that the ripples extend outward until they break across all cultures and languages, culminating in a universal oddity that science cannot explain.

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