CMU CHIMP robot finishes 3rd in Florida competition

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As a result of finishing third in a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored competition in Florida, a team at Carnegie Mellon University will have another year to continue refining its two-armed, two-legged CHIMP robot.

The team found out late Saturday that it was selected to move ahead in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency competition to develop robots to respond to natural disasters and other situations that could be too dangerous for humans. As a result, CMU's team will be among the eight eligible teams 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 recently purchased by Google, and from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, the official said.

"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 and leader of Tartan Rescue.

In a university statement, 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 the weekend 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 participated over two days in the trials held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.

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

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

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