Team KAIST Wins DARPA Robotics Challenge

It was a nail-biting final round as Team KAIST completed a perfect run with the fastest time, winning the $2 million grand prize

1 min read
Team KAIST Wins DARPA Robotics Challenge
Professor Jun Ho Oh and his team with DARPA program manager Gill Pratt.
Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum

It was a nail-biting final round as the top teams of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals tried to catch up with Team KAIST, which earlier today had completed a perfect run, scoring the maximum 8 points in 44:28 minutes. Two teams also scored 8 points, but Team KAIST, from South Korea, had the best time, winning the top spot and the US $2 million grand prize.

KAIST’s robot, called DRC-HUBO, was a bipedal humanoid. But unlike other humanoids, such as the ATLAS robot used by several other teams, DRC-HUBO had modifications, including wheels on its knees, that allowed it to perform tasks faster and, perhaps more importantly, avoid falls. (Read our in-depth article on how DRC-HUBO helped Team KAIST take first place in the competition.)

imgThis robot won the DRC Finals 2015.Photo: Erico Guizzo/IEEE Spectrum

Team IHMC Robotics finished second, winning $1 million. Tartan Rescue came in third, and will take home $500,000. Both were among the favorite teams, based on their strong performances on Day 1 of the Finals.

The KAIST team is led by Jun Ho Oh, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, in Daejeon, South Korea, and one of the world’s top experts in humanoid robots. He and his team have been improving their robot HUBO over several generations.

The robot they built for the DRC Finals was specifically designed for the competition. We’re working on a post explaining the key features of the robot, and how they helped the South Korean team win the DRC Finals.

Congratulations to Team KAIST and all other teams!

P.S.: Below are the final scores for all teams:

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The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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