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Watch IU And Purdue’s Robot Climb A Ladder

Students from IU and Purdue have helped design a robot that could perform human tasks in dangerous situations.

Hubo

Photo: Drexel University

Hubo was designed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and nine other universities.

Thirteen teams, including a group from Indiana University and Purdue University, are competing in a robotics challenge today that tests robots on human skills.

As NPR reports, the competition was inspired by the 50 men who worked to avert a nuclear meltdown following the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.

As hydrogen gas built up in the reactors, people sent in to open valves couldn’t do it because the radiation was too high. If robots could have opened the valves, the incident might not have been as disastrous.

Tony Stentz, director of the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, is also intrigued by the idea of using robots for disaster response. His answer is a red, humanlike robot called CHIMP.

“You could put a robot like CHIMP in an environment where there’s a risk of fire or an explosion or a toxic gas leak,” Stentz says. “It could do work rather than subjecting a person to that risk.

The robot that a team from IU, Purdue and eight other universities designed is called DRC-Hubo. One of its skills is climbing ladders.

Take a look:

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology designed the first Hubo model, and students from other universities have been working on new algorithms to make the robot perform different tasks.

As this video explains, each university or institution was responsible for a specific function. Purdue University and IU were in charge of ladder climbing.

And when you put it all together, this is what the robot could potentially do in a disaster situation.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge started yesterday and continues today. DARPA, the U.S. Defense Department’s research agency, is sponsoring the event.

The winners receive $2 million. Teams that make it through the first round receive $1 million in funding.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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