It’s been close to a month since the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) wrapped up. That’s time enough to face facts. The biggest and most well-funded international robotics competition in years was a failure.
That doesn’t feel good to write. The DRC was a huge undertaking, spanning years and costing millions. The competition had a noble goal—the development of robots that can better respond to disasters—and it attracted many of the world’s smartest and most accomplished roboticists.
Bummer but saying it was a failure and a bust isn’t fair, this is how learn and improve.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !
I have to say I disagree pretty strongly with the idea that the competition was a failure. DARPA’s motive for these competitions is to push the technology forward, and it certainly succeeded there. To focus on the mechanical limitations of the current generation misses the point. The machinery is only part of the technology that goes into a robot.
8 of the teams were using more-or-less "off the shelf" Atlas robots and put their primary efforts into advancing the state of the art in software.
Dr. Russ Tedrake and the MIT team in particular were pushing the envelope for autonomous operation. Prior to the competition, Dr. Tedrake invited the high school robotics teams that I coach to present their Atlas robot with some surprise tasks for practice. Their robot was able to complete 3 of the 4 tasks with no modifications or re-programming.
What a terrible, short-sighted article. Do the authors (and yourselves, for posting a link to it) really believe that it was such a bad thing that there were a lot of failures?