Sunday, June 07, 2015

DLL Storify of Final (2nd) Day of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) 2015 -- Saturday 6/6/2015

Last update: Sunday 6/7/15 @ 12:06 pm
As described on the Home Pages of the DRC:
  • The DRC was a competition of robot systems and software teams vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. It was designed to be extremely difficult. Participating teams, representing some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, collaborated and innovated on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that enabled their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by DARPA for their relevance to disaster response.
  • The DRC Finals took place on June 5-6, 2015 at Fairplex in Pomona, California. The DRC Finals required robots to attempt a circuit of consecutive physical tasks, with degraded communications between the robots and their operators. The winning team won received a $2 million grand prize; the runner-up received $1 million and the third-place team won $500,000.
In essence, the DRC was a high level civic hackathon wherein competing teams developed apps for very special mobile platforms, a/k/a "robots" ... :-)

Readers are strongly urged to explore the Home Pages of the DRC because they contain a wealth of info about the twenty-four robots and their human teams who competed in the DRC, teams that came from the U.S., South Korea, Germany, Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Italy. These pages also describe the Exposition that accompanied the DRC. An excellent overview was provided by the NY Times

The DLL attempted to create its usual unfiltered "firehose" summary of the competition by using Storify to capture all of the tweets that contained the official #DARPADRC hashtag. There were about 2400 tweets generated during the two days of the completion.  Unfortunately, this greatly exceeded the 1,000 tweet limit that Storify imposes. And there were more tweets on the second day than on the first. 

So it was only possible to Storify the second and final day of the competition. And it was also necessary to exclude tweets that were (a) blurry, e.g, snapshots of the images on jumbotron outdoor TV screens, (b) selfies, (c) snapshots of crowds of spectators, and (d) most personal comments.

When reading the tweets and the pages linked to the tweets, readers should understand that three or four robots were usually on different locations of the course at the same time, each of which was attempting to carry out the eight tasks identified by the first tweet (from the Washington Post) that appears in the Storify (below). The Post's infographic is a simplified version of DARPA's own infographic summary of the robot's tasks.

DARPA live streamed the competition from start to finish, with surprisingly polished commentary by its on-camera hosts and guests. DARPA also tweeted links to videos about the DRC, the most popular probably being a one minute compilation of hilarious robot pratfalls (sound track from the 1812 Overture) that more than one tweeter found to be reassuring evidence that robots won't be taking over our world any time soon  ... :-)

Finally, a four hour compilation of some of DARPA's video coverage can be found below.