CMU's CHIMP robot advances in Florida competition sponsored by U.S. Department of Defense

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Carnegie Mellon University’s two-armed, two-legged CHIMP robot successfully advanced after two days of trials in Florida in a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored competition to encourage development of robots able to respond to disasters, officials said tonight.

The device developed by a team of roboticists from Carnegie Mellon beat out 14 of 16 entries that competed. As a result, CMU’s team will be among the eight teams eligible to negotiate an award of $1 million each to further develop their projects in the coming year, a school spokesman said.

The Carnegie Mellon team finished ahead of an entry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and behind entries from Schaft, a Japanese company newly purchased by Google, and from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (Ihmc), the official said.

CMU builds robot to aid in disaster zones

The CMU designed CHIMP robot was designed to work on disaster sites that are too dangerous for humans. (Video by Andrew Rush; 12/5/2013)

“I’m extremely proud that our team designed and assembled a robot as capable as CHIMP in little more than a year,” said Tony Stentz, director of the CMU Robotics Institute’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and leader of Tartan Rescue.

In a statement released by the university tonight, he added: “We wouldn’t be here without the technical excellence, dedication and just plain stamina of our team members.”

CHIMP, or the CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform, weighs 400 pounds and stands 5 feet 2 inches tall. It has 39 motors, among them ones that move two laser radars on its head, providing its operators with a perspective on where CHIMP is located within the setting where it is deployed.

Carnegie Mellon's robot scored 18 out of a possible 32 points in this weekend's competition, displaying ability to do such work as remove debris, cut a hole through a wall and close a series of valves, the university said.

The Tartan Rescue Team from Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center participated over two days in the Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Robotics Challenge Trials held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.

Carnegie Mellon said the teams will compete next December in the competition's finals. That competition carries a $2 million award for the victor.

Bill Schackner:, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG.

First Published December 21, 2013 10:25 PM

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