Nova: Rise of the Robots

The Running Man is at it again. IHMC’s “Atlas robot,” which placed second in the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-sponsored international robotics competition last summer, will be featured in a NOVA documentary this evening, Wednesday, Feb. 24th, called “Rise of the Robots.”

It explores how robots are gradually making their way into the real world, with questions such as: “How close are we to a future where humanoid robots are part of our everyday lives? What are the implications of a future with robots that can do a human’s job?”

The DARPA competition, held last June in Pomona, California, involved 23 teams from around the world, whose robots competed against each other in completing eight tasks such as driving a car and cutting a hole in the wall.

A South Korean robot, DRC-HUBO, placed first, finishing six minutes faster than IHMC’s Atlas, the 6’2” robot weighing more than 380 pounds. Built by Boston Dynamics, the IHMC team, led by Jerry Pratt, John Carff, Peter Neuhaus and Matt Johnson, spent several years working on the robot’s software and controls.

IHMC researchers continue to run the robot everyday, tasking Atlas with new challenges such as vacuuming, sweeping, dancing, and having the robot engage in a minute of autonomous activity.

To watch the NOVA film trailer:

For more information on the NOVA documentary, contact Jennifer Welsh, the public relations person for NOVA: ; 617-300-4382.

For more information on Atlas, contact IHMC writer/communications manager Kristine Crane: ; 352-387-3057.