Well folks, the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) has come and gone. Sixteen teams turned out to compete in what was designed to be a grueling series of events. After two days of tinkering, tuning and triumph, one team rose above the rest to take the DRC's top prize: we're talking about Team SCHAFT.
Recently purchased by Google, SCHAFT is a small Japanese company which began at the University of Tokyo's JSK Lab. Team SCHAFT's robot, which features some innovative motors, blew away the competition over the course of the DRC's two-day competition. Finishing seven points ahead of their closest competitor, SCHAFT snatched up an impressive 27 points out of a possible 32.
This isn't the end for the DRC or for its challengers, however. Next year, DARPA will host the DRC Finals, inviting the top eight finishers from this year's competition back into the ring. Returning competitors will include Carnegie Mellon's CHIMP and NASA/JPL's RoboSimian as well as a number of teams (which include MIT) operating DARPA's ATLAS robot. In a competition that has already felled Virginia Tech's THOR and NASA's Valkyrie, rest assured that the remaining competitors will give next year's finals their all. For now, all hail SCHAFT: one bad mother — shut your mouth!