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Video Friday: Meet the DARPA Robotics Challenge Teams

UPDATED 12/21/13: DARPA posted more team profile videos, and we've included them below.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials officially kicked off this morning, and you can actually watch some of the action in real time directly from the Homestead Miami Speedway, thanks to DARPA's live feeds. (Don't be disappointed if nothing much is happening when you tune in; that's how it's supposed to be, so be patient and soon you'll see robots doing things, or at least trying to do things.) DARPA has also been posting video profiles of the DRC teams, and that's what we'll bring you today in this special edition of Video Friday. And keep checking back for our continuing coverage of the DRC Trials!

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Video: Watch the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials

UPDATE 12/21/13 Saturday 7:44 pm ET: The DRC Trials have ended (check out the final results!). The Day 1 and Day 2 feeds we posted below are now archived recordings of the events.)

We're at the DARPA Robotics Challenge all day today and tomorrow. It's going to be craaazy, and with so many events going on all at once, there's no way we're going to be able to bring you everything in real time. Fortunately, DARPA has a bunch of camera crews who will be live streaming almost all events, so just start playing the videos below to tune right in.

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DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials: What You Should (and Shouldn't) Expect to See

We're super excited for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials that run tomorrow and Saturday, and we hope you are too. Before we get all wrapped up in it, though, it's important to understand what's realistic to expect from the robots during the competition, to prevent yourself from (let's be honest here) experiencing some level of (potentially profound) disappointment.

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For the First Time in 40 Years, a Robot Is Wandering the Moon

The last rover to be operational on the Moon was the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2, in January of 1973. Since then, we humans have focused most of our robotic exploration efforts on more, well, exotic locations, like Venus and Mars. This should by no means be taken to imply that we know everything there is to know about the Moon, or that it's all boring and no fun up there. Realistically, it could be the closest spot for long-term habitation, but we still have a lot more to learn, so it's about time that we went back there to do some exploring. And the "we," in this case, is China.

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Anybots' New Monolithic Telepresence Robot: Q(X)

Last we heard from Anybots was back in February of last year, when they were offering a robotic receptionist service called AnyLobby. Since then, it's been fairly quiet over there, but apparently, this is why: they've been working on a new telepresence robot called Q(X), which made its first appearance at a party last week.

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Video Friday: REEM-C, Bots of the Past, and Drones Hear Your Screams

Next Wednesday night, we'll be taking a redeye out to Florida for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. There'll be a media briefing on Thursday afternoon, and the trials themselves will run all day Friday and Saturday, with a robotics expo and demos running at the same time. Saturday night is the closing ceremony, with a media briefing to follow. As we mentioned last week, there will be extensive live coverage (including streaming video) provided by DARPA itself, and we'll be getting you all the details on that after the Thursday media briefing.

As far as our coverage goes, we understand that there's going to be a lot of media at this event, so what we're going to try and do is bring you the sorts of stories that you're not likely to find anywhere else, with the level of detail that (we hope) you know and love. And if there are specific things that you'd like to see, make sure and let us know. Meanwhile, here's one or two videos to tide you over until the action starts next week.

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Navy Launches Slightly Less Cool Drone from Submarine

Drones require infrastructure to function. You've got to launch them from somewhere, and if you want them back, you have to land them somewhere, too. And infrastructure, as a general rule, is not secretive or stealthy, which can cause problems for the military, since they like being stealthy. As far as the U.S. Navy goes, nothing is stealthier than a submarine, so turning one of those into a mobile drone launcher like the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) just did makes perfect sense.

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