A few weeks ago, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) held the DARPA Robotics Challenge–the culmination of a three-year contest pitting teams from around the world against one another to develop a robot capable of performing rescue missions in disaster areas.
Each team’s robot was given eight challenges designed to test how agile and effective they could be in simulated hazard zones (the Challenge was inspired by how ineffectual robots were in the days after the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011).
To put it mildly, the course is not easy. In fact, it’s so tough that even the most advanced robot from the outer rim of some writer’s imagination would find it nearly impossible to pass. Scroll through the challenges above to see how each round would confound even the most fantastical tech.