This artist's concept depicts RoboSimian, a disaster-relief and -mitigation robot, grasping the rung of a ladder.
RoboSimian is an ape-like robot designed and built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge. The challenge seeks to spur the development of robots for relief work in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge calls upon competitor bots to complete a series of tasks, including driving a vehicle, using tools and climbing a ladder.
RoboSimian will use its four general-purpose limbs and hands for both mobility and manipulation. Multiple points of contact increase stability during operations that range from climbing stairs to turning a valve. The design also allows RoboSimian to reverse direction without reorienting itself.
The RoboSimian team is led by JPL. Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., collaborated on the development of the robot's unique hands.
More information about RoboSimian is at http://www-robotics.jpl.nasa.gov/tasks/showTask.cfm?TaskID=236&tdaID=700043.
For details about the DARPA Robotics Challenge, visit http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/.