The goal of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) is to generate groundbreaking research and development so that future robotics can perform the most hazardous activities in future disaster response operations, in tandem with their human counterparts, in order to reduce casualties, avoid further destruction, and save lives.
Disaster response robots require multiple layers of software to explore and interact with their environments, use tools, maintain balance and communicate with human operators. In the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC), competing teams applied software of their own design to a simulated robot in an attempt to complete a series of tasks that are prerequisites for more complex activities.
Twenty-six teams from eight countries qualified to compete in the VRC, which ran from June 17-21, 2013. DARPA had allocated resources for the six teams that did best, but in an interesting twist, good sportsmanship and generosity will allow members of the top nine teams, listed below, to move forward:
- Team IHMC, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola, Fla. (52 points)
- WPI Robotics Engineering C Squad (WRECS), Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass. (39 points)
- MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. (34 points)
- Team TRACLabs, TRACLabs, Inc., Webster, Texas (30 points)
- JPL / UCSB / Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. (29 points)
- TORC, TORC / TU Darmstadt / Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (27 points)
- Team K, Japan (25 points)
- TROOPER, Lockheed Martin, Cherry Hill, N.J. (24 points)
- Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio (23 points)
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You can apply to take part in the Kinect for Windows developer kit program. This program, which begins in November 2013, will provide developers with tools and a pre-release sensor as soon as possible so they can start building new applications before general availability in 2014.
The program fee will be US$399 (or local equivalent) and offers the following benefits:
- Direct access to the Kinect for Windows engineering team via a private forum and exclusive webcasts
- Early SDK access (alpha, beta, and any updates along the way to release)
- Private access to all API and sample documentation
- A pre-release/alpha sensor
- A final, released sensor at launch
There are a limited number of spots in the program. Applications must be completed by July 31, 2013, 9:00 A.M. (Pacific Time). Apply here.
For broad information about the new Kinect check out Wired's first look video.
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