This is RoboSimian, a four-legged crab-like robot from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This impressive specimen of robot technology scored big recently, landing a fifth place finish at the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials.
The U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency orchestrated the competition after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown that took place in Japan back in March of 2011. It would ultimately serve as a means to test and develop robots in dangerous disaster environments. The preliminary trials for this years finals took place last month at the Miami Speedway, with RoboSimian competing to place within the top 8 and advance to the Robotic Finals event in late 2014. RoboSimian looked quite excellent in action, as you can see in the clip below:
The fifth place finish earns RoboSimian DARPA funding to compete in the Robotic Finals for $2 million in winnings. This was quite an achievement, especially considering that most of the DARPA challenge contestants were humanoids with two legs, whereas RoboSimian took a different approach and used all four limbs to traverse difficult structures. Big ups to our pals over at JPL; Keep up the great work!