For a fascinating look at the future of robots, there’s no better place to look than DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, which featured all sorts of ultra-tough robots that could be deployed in disaster response situations where humans dare not tread (the challenge was created post-Fukushima).
Most of the entries are humanoid. Then there’s Robosimian, an ape-inspired finalist in the competition that comes from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Caltech and looks like a cross between a mammal, a spider, and a killer robot. It’s incredibly handy, with the ability to cross obstacles, retrieve objects, tighten bolts, and more. But the four-limbed robot moves in jerky motions, and doesn’t go very fast.
The robot lumbers along by design–JPL writes on its website that Robosimian has an “emphasis on stability over dynamics and deliberation over reaction” that will “result in faster and more robust overall operations by decreasing missteps for both robot and human operator.” Those assurances still probably won’t quell your Robosimian-inspired nightmares, though.
Check out the video above to see Robosimian in action.