China industrial profits rise most in three years as economy shows signs of stabilizing | Reuters

BEIJING Profits in China’s industrial sector rose at the fastest pace in three years as the world’s second-biggest economy showed more signs of stabilizing, though some private forecasters say the improvement may be more fleeting than real.

Profits of industrial firms in August jumped 19.5 percent from a year earlier to 534.8 billion yuan ($80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday. That was the largest increase since August 2013.

China’s economy grew 6.9 percent last year, the slowest in 25 years, as global demand ebbed. Following billions of dollars in government spending and a property boom in the country’s top-tier cities, official data in recent months are starting to point to some stabilization in the economy.

Steel and oil refining helped drive the jump in profits last month, the statistics bureau said, in line with the view that state infrastructure projects and a ramp-up in construction are lifting the basic materials sectors and the overall economy.

In August, the volume of rail freight rose for the first time since December 2013, up 1 percent from a year earlier, according to data released by NBS on Tuesday.

“Gross domestic product growth in the third quarter could be faster than the first or second, in the range of 6.7 to 6.8 percent,” said Liao Qun, chief economist at Citic Bank International.

The Asian Development Bank on Tuesday raised its growth forecast this year for China to 6.6 percent from its last estimate of 6.5 percent, citing fiscal and monetary stimulus measures.

But some economists are more cautious, saying the growth drivers are not sustainable on their own in the longer run. The statistics bureau itself also said the jump in profits was partly due to a low base of comparison the previous year.

The surge in industrial profit data was because of government stimulus and a hot real estate market, said Zuo Congying, an analyst at Golden Sun Securities.

“Such a jump is not sustainable. Growth will likely become very low next month,” Zuo said. “We’re still in the big cycle of capacity reduction. The economic situation has not changed.”

The increase in earnings was also fueled by an auto sector that has enjoyed strong sales ahead of the expiry of a tax cut on small-engine vehicles at the year-end, people in the industry say.

By sector, the industrial profit data were also uneven.

Manufacturing profits rose 14.1 percent in August from a year earlier while mining industry profits fell 70.9 percent even as coal and steel prices surged.

Domestic coal and steel prices have rallied in recent months due to tighter supplies brought about by the closure of some production to reduce surplus capacity and from restructuring.

While industrial profits have shown some positive changes, traditional industries are still struggling, particularly in sectors hobbled by excess capacity, NBS said.

China has embarked on a campaign to cut capacity in the coal and steel sectors in the economy’s most significant transformation in two decades.

The restructuring could lead to the layoff of up to 1.8 million workers in those sectors, according to official estimates.

“Another risk is consumer sentiment being undermined as income growth further decelerates and the labor market weakens under continuing industrial restructuring,” ADB said.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Fang Cheng, Yawen Chen and Sue-Lin Wong in BEIJING and Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-industrial-profits-idUSKCN11X08W

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http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/davinci-surgical-robot-12425149

Japan companies experiment with work robots

Fitting with the store’s history, the new greeter wears a traditional Japanese kimono while delivering information to the growing crowd, whose expressions vary from amusement to bewilderment.

It’s hard to imagine the store’s founders in the late 1600’s could have imagined this kind of employee.

That’s because the greeter is not a human — it’s a robot.

Aiko Chihira is an android manufactured by Toshiba, designed to look and move like a real person. It was put on temporary display at the department store.

Toshiba says Chihira has 43 motors allowing it to move, speak in sign language and even sing.

The regular greeter, Ayako Seiryu, says she’s not worried about a robot replacing her — even one made to resemble a real 32-year-old woman.

“Communication is important,” she says. “My strength is I can actually talk to people.”

Chihira can’t have a conversation yet, acknowledges Hitoshi Tokuda, Toshiba spokesperson. But he says the technology is evolving quickly and someday, robots like Chihira could replace humans for certain jobs.

Robots in the workforce?

A growing number of Japanese businesses are testing out robots as a possible solution to the country’s shrinking workforce.

They’re appearing in stores, banks and soon even hotels.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ is trying out “Nao,” a customer service robot that answers basic questions and is designed to speak 19 languages. The robotic polygot could prove useful serving foreign customers during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

By then, the bank hopes to have even more robots on staff.

“Pepper” is a humanoid robot that “chats” with customers. A humanoid has human-like characteristics such as arms, legs and a head — but is designed to look like a robot. Pepper first began appearing in Tokyo stores last year.

Manufacturer Softbank hopes it’ll eventually be a “family robot,” like a sleeker version of Rosie on “The Jetsons.”

A hotel scheduled to open at Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki this summer plans to have 10 robot staff members and aims to increase that to more than 90% of hotel services operated by robots.

Today’s novelty could be tomorrow’s necessity. Japan has an aging population that has prompted serious talks about how to incorporate robots into the nation’s shrinking workforce.

One group that seems willing to embrace robots are Japan’s senior citizens.

A survey by nursing home operator Orix Living found more seniors would feel comfortable being cared for by a robot than a foreign nurse.

In a nation with a dwindling population, waning workforce, and deep resistance to immigration, it seems robots will only play a larger role in Japan’s future.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/24/asia/japan-robots-work/index.html

The Internet of Things Will Drive the Digital Transformation of Industry

COPENHAGEN — Physical objects, such as an engine, a river or even an entire manufacturing plant, can be equipped with sensors that measure physical characteristics of the surrounding environment — the location, temperature, vibration and flow rate, to give some examples. And low-power networking technologies allow these “things” to share this data with other “things” across networks and data centers.

The cost of these technologies has fallen dramatically in recent years, as Jeremy Rifkin makes clear in his WorldPost series on the Third Industrial Revolution, so that now virtually any aspect of our environment — natural systems, human systems and physical objects — can connect and interact. This increased connectivity is going to change the way we communicate and do business.

The Power of Actionable Insight

What’s driving this new level of awareness in the “Internet of Things” is a convergence of three key technology shifts that are accelerating IoT deployments:

The explosion of data generated by devices. The number of connected computing devices around the world is growing — several billion connected devices are already in use today, with many more expected in the near future. These devices — smart meters and appliances, radio-frequency identification tags, connected cars, wearables and more — are producing massive amounts of data about the environment around them.

Cloud as a growth engine for business. Businesses are able to respond to changing market conditions with agility and flexibility using the cloud. New solutions can be deployed quickly and cost effectively to open cloud platforms that connect to people and devices around the globe.

New ways to engage the business and its customers. Mobile and social networks are enabling people to work in a smarter way by putting more real-time information and decision-making power in the palms of their hands, with everything integrated securely in business processes and workflow.

IBM, where I am the general manager of the Nordic division, recognized the potential offered by the IoT many years ago and aggressively helped clients tap into its potential. Launched in 2008, the IBM Smarter Planet initiative introduced the idea that the world was rapidly becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. Here’s how:

Instrumented — through low-cost smart sensors and mobile devices that turn the workings of the physical world into massive amounts of data points that can be measured.

Interconnected — where different parts of a core system, like networks, applications and data centers, are joined and “speak” to each other, turning data into information.

Intelligent — with information being transformed into real-time actionable insights at massive scale through the application of advanced analytics.

advanced logistics

A container ship in S. Africa. The Internet of Things will transform advanced shipping, transport and communication infrastructure. Kevin Sutherland/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The IoT links the physical and digital worlds. The massive amounts of data that instrumented devices collect provide businesses the opportunity to learn about the environment in which they operate, gleaning insights that can be turned into actions. These insights can help formulate new delivery models and fundamentally change how a business operates.

Unfortunately, 90 percent of data created in the IoT is never captured, studied or utilized. Furthermore, up to 60 percent of that data almost immediately loses its value. So, most of the data is never turned into insights. And that is where the true potential of the IoT lies. It’s not just the devices that generate valuable data, but also the intelligence that is built to consume that data, analyze it and generate actionable insights.

Digital Transformation of Industry

The Digital Age has brought with it a new way of thinking about manufacturing and operations. Labor rate changes in emerging economies, coupled with challenges associated with logistics and energy costs, are influencing global production and associated distribution decisions. Significant advances in technology, including big data and analytics, the Internet of Things, robotics and additive manufacturing, are shifting the capabilities and value proposition of global manufacturing. In response, manufacturing and operations require a digital overhaul: the value chain must be redesigned and retooled and the workforce retrained. Total delivered cost must be analyzed to determine the best places to locate sources of supply, manufacturing and assembly operations around the world.

Allowing devices to communicate has many benefits for the manufacturing industry, including improved decision-making, increased productivity, more efficient energy management, better inventory management and lower cost product individualization. Intelligent IoT systems enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks through interconnectivity of machinery, sensors and control systems.

IoT systems also extend to asset management via predictive maintenance, statistical evaluation and measurements to help increase reliability. Smart industrial management systems can also be integrated with the smart grid, thereby enabling real-time energy optimization. In addition, IoT and cloud-based GPS solutions can help increase the visibility of goods in transit. These solutions make it possible to track individual items via chips that “talk” to each other, transmitting data such as identification, location, temperature, pressure and humidity.

It’s not just the devices that generate valuable data, but also the intelligence that is built to consume that data, analyze it and generate actionable insights.

IBM’s strategy on analytics, mobile, cloud, security and social allows manufacturing companies to implement industry solutions. For example:

Business leaders can transform their business by shifting to new, disruptive business models — moving value creation toward revenue models that are services-based.

Business operations and plant and facilities managers can optimize the operation of old and new systems — now integrated with intelligent things to become interactive, reactive and adaptive. The cost of running buildings and the resources they consume can be reduced, asset utilization can be increased — as can the revenue they generate — and asset maintenance costs can be reduced through condition repairs instead of time-based maintenance.

Product engineers and designers can accelerate the development of smarter, connected products that redefine every industry with innovative new capabilities that improve functionality, reduce costs, manage complexity and deliver new value. Insights gained from the operational performance of products can be used to improve products and product development processes.

The adoption of an open platform would ensure that all players (people, Internet of things, etc.) can communicate and have access to the latest game-changing technologies, ideas and services.

IBM’s IoT digital innovation platform, industry solutions and services are enabling manufacturers to act on the digital transformation of industry, by designing and building new connected and data-rich products and machines, embedding intelligence into manufacturing operations to make a smart factory and engaging with customers and employees in new ways by utilizing mobile and social to obtain insights on their needs.

11 Ways Technology Has Changed Since We Were Kids

Passing notes has gotten a little easier… but gone is the thrill of covert note delivery

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/guido-bartels/internet-of-things-digital_b_8472410.html

Is Enough Done To Stop Explosive Dust?

You might not think of sugar, corn, or metal as materials that can cause a catastrophic explosion in a factory, but when they’re ground into dust-and suspended in the air-all it takes is a small spark to set off a major disaster. As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, devastating dust explosions at American factories are more common now than ever.

Since 1980, there have been at least 350 such explosions in the U.S., killing 133 people and injuring hundreds more. There are at least 30,000 factories in the nation vulnerable to dust explosions, and yet, some top federal safety officials tell 60 Minutes the government agency whose job it is to protect workers is ignoring a tried-and-true way to prevent those explosions.

On the night of Oct, 29, 2003, the Hayes Lemmerz factory in Huntington, Ind., exploded in a ball of fire. The plant made wheels for cars, and federal investigators said aluminum dust had piled up and detonated.

Thirty-three-year-old Shawn Boone was a mechanic at the plant. His sister, Tammy Miser, got a call with word that her brother was seriously injured. “Shawn and a couple of his co-workers were in the furnace room. And there was an explosion. And then there was a second more intense blast,” she remembers.

Asked what happened to him, Tammy tells Pelley, “He laid on the building floor. And the aluminum dust actually continued to burn through his flesh.”

Tammy says her brother had third and fourth-degree burns on 92 to 100 percent of his body. She says the doctors said there wasn’t any hope. “That his internal organs were burned beyond repair. They wouldn’t even bandage him. They said that the only solution we had was to take him off of life support.”

Shawn Boone was one of 15 people killed in dust explosions that year. It was a turning point for Carolyn Merritt, who was then the head of the Chemical Safety Board, the federal government’s own experts who find the cause of the nation’s worst industrial disasters.

Merritt ordered the most comprehensive investigation ever done on dust explosions. Her conclusion: hundreds of industries create huge amounts of lethal dust and aren’t even aware of the risk. “If this material were gasoline, there would be no doubt in any owner’s or operator’s mind what needed to be done,” Merritt tells Pelley.

Asked if that would be an emergency, Merritt says, “Absolutely.”

“Is dust, functionally, the same thing?” Pelley asks.

“It has the same power if a dust explosion occurs,” Merritt explains.

“Can you just explain to me how it is that the dust is explosive, I mean, what’s going on here?” Pelley asks,

“Okay, if you take an ear of corn, you’re not gonna be able to light it with a match. But if you grind that into a powder, the smaller the particle size, the more explosive it is. Metal dust. People don’t think metal can burn. But you turn it into a fine powder, and you have a very explosive and flammable material,” she explains.

Even a thin layer of dust, once airborne, can be ignited by the smallest spark-a machine being plugged in or a forklift scraping the ground.

One explosion, also in 2003, at West Pharmaceutical Industries in Kinston, N.C., showed just how insidious the problem can be. Because it was a drug company, the factory floor was immaculate. But plastic dust was hidden above the workers’ heads.

“We know that as much as two inches of dust had accumulated in the ceiling, probably about a ton of material. That makes for a powerful explosion,” Merritt says.

Hours after the blast employees were still trapped inside; seven died and scores were injured. Merritt’s investigation concluded that OSHA-the government agency created to safeguard workplaces-had no effective regulation on its books to deal with explosive dust. And she found that OSHA inspectors routinely overlooked the hazard.

Merritt tells Pelley OSHA had been at that worksite before the explosion and that they didn’t find any dust issues.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/is-enough-done-to-stop-explosive-dust/

Rockwell Automation adquire a MAVERICK Technologies

MILWAUKEE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK) adquiriu a empresa líder em

integração de sistemas MAVERICK Technologies para ampliar conhecimento

sobre domínio e ajudar a entregar soluções inovadoras de controle e

informações para clientes em setores como químico, alimentos e bebidas,

e óleo e gás. A aquisição fortalece consideravelmente o conhecimento da

Rockwell Automation com relação a importantes aplicativos de lote e

processo para ajudar seus clientes a alcançar maior produtividade e

melhor competitividade global por meio de soluções de gerenciamento de

informação e controle de processo.

“Soluções de informação e controle industrial são mais eficazes quando

resultam de uma estreita colaboração entre um fornecedor experiente e o

usuário”, disse Ken Champa, vice-presidente sênior de soluções e

produtos de controle da Rockwell Automation. “A combinação da nossa

liderança em automação industrial global com o conhecimento de domínio

multiplataforma da MAVERICK ajudará os nossos clientes a reduzir a

complexidade e alcançar uma produtividade sem precedentes”.

A aquisição apoia a estratégia de crescimento da Rockwell Automation

para ajudar os clientes a aumentar a competitividade global por meio da

“empresa conectada”, uma visão que conecta informações do chão de

fábrica com o resto da empresa para impulsionar novo valor comercial.

Isto é particularmente importante para clientes de processo para os

quais tempo de funcionamento e desempenho contínuo são essenciais.

“Continuaremos a oferecer nosso conhecimento de domínio, agora com o

poder de um líder de automação industrial Fortune 500 ao nosso lado”,

disse Paul Galeski, fundador e diretor executivo da MAVERICK. “Isto cria

a melhor combinação disponível para ajudar a revelar os benefícios da

informação que impulsiona o desempenho em indústrias de processo”.

A MAVERICK está situada em Columbia, Illinois, com 21 unidades nos EUA e

mais de 300 engenheiros e vendedores técnicos. Em julho de 2016, a

empresa foi reconhecida pela revista “The Silicon Review” como uma das “50

melhores empresas para acompanhar de 2016″ (Best Companies to Watch).

Sobre a Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), a maior empresa dedicada à

informação e à automação industriais do mundo, torna seus clientes mais

produtivos e o mundo mais sustentável. Sediada em Milwaukee, Wisconsin ,

a Rockwell Automation emprega aproximadamente 22 mil pessoas e atende a

clientes em mais de 80 países.

Sobre a MAVERICK Technologies

Fundada em 1999, a MAVERICK é a maior empresa de integração de sistemas

independente na América do Norte e é líder global em soluções de

automação industrial, integração empresarial e fabricação estratégica

para clientes numa ampla variedade de setores de fabricação e processo.

Potencializando sua exclusiva perspectiva por toda a empresa, a MAVERICK

identifica operações subótimas e melhora o desempenho para alcançar

maior segurança, eficiência e lucratividade global. As pessoas,

processos e capacidades técnicas da empresa garantem a entrega da

solução certa para cada projeto usando a tecnologia mais apropriada.

Organizações por todo o mundo dependem da capacidade de resposta,

abordagem orientada por resultados e dedicação da MAVERICK ao sucesso

destas empresas. Ao longo dos anos, a MAVERICK já realizou mais de 15

mil projetos em 46 países, por seis continentes. Para saber mais sobre a

MAVERICK, acesse mavtechglobal.com.

Para baixar nosso kit de imprensa, acesse mavtechglobal.com/press

O texto no idioma original deste anúncio é a versão oficial autorizada.

As traduções são fornecidas apenas como uma facilidade e devem se

referir ao texto no idioma original, que é a única versão do texto que

tem efeito legal.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161003006109/pt/

The DaVinci Surgical Robot Video

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The Car Company Tycoon Game

Automation is still in development, but you can get in on Early Access now! You’ll get instant access to some extra content for the current version of the game, and a copy of the full version when it’s completed, as well as every update along the way.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Automation is still heavily in development. There is already many hours of interesting gameplay to be had out of Automation, but some major features are not complete. Large updates are usually released every few months

Automation Early Access: Steam

Instant access to the Full Engine Designer and the Car Designer 

Unlocks Turbos, V6, V8 and I6 Engines and more Car Bodies

The full version of Automation when its completed (No more money to spend)

Extra content as its released

Approx $5 USD off the full price.

Multiplayer available in future versions

Read more about the game

Automation is sold as a Digital Download version only, and is for Windows PCs only

Click here to check the minimum specifications. Noting that if your Graphics Card doesn’t support Shader Model 3.0 or above it won’t run Automation (almost all modern graphic cards, but please check your graphics card manufacturer’s website if unsure)

Note: Intel Integrated Graphics cards (as seen on many budget laptops) are not officially supported but some of them may run Automation OK on low settings. Try the demo if unsure.

http://www.automationgame.com/

Robot Showdown: Droids to Face Off in DARPA Robotics Challenge

Make way for robots!

This weekend, some of the world’s most sophisticated robots will go head-to-head in a competition that tests their ability to assist humans in a natural or man-made disaster.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, funded by the U.S. military’s R&D branch, will pit 25 teams against each other as their robots attempt to complete a series of physical challenges, all while navigating around disrupted communications between the bots and their human operators.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday and Saturday (June 5 and 6) at Fairplex in Pomona, California. The winning team will take home $2 million, while the runner-up and third-place teams will receive $1 million and $500,000, respectively. [See images of Robots in this Year’s DARPA Challenge]

The challenge

The challenge, which began in 2012, was inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, in which an earthquake and tsunami led to the buildup of explosive gas in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The radioactive environment made it dangerous for human responders to take action, but robots could have investigated the stricken nuclear reactor in their stead, DARPA officials said.

“Disasters, both natural and man-made, are something we see every year happening throughout the world,” Gill Pratt, program manager for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, said in a news conference in mid-May. “If we could only intervene [with robots], we could mitigate the extent of these disasters,” he said.

Teams from countries around the world, including Japan, China, Germany, Italy and the United States, will compete in the two-day challenge. In December 2013, 16 teams competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials in Florida, and 11 teams were selected to attend the finals. This March, another 14 teams qualified to take part in the finals.

The competitors include Carnegie Mellon University’s CHIMP robot (short for CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform), NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s RoboSimian, Japan’s Aero DRC robot and Germany’s Momaro robot, to name just a few.

This weekend, the 25 finalist teams and their robots will attempt to complete one of four simulated disaster courses, featuring eight different tasks. Each robot will have one hour each day to complete the course.

The tasks

As part of the course, the robots will have to drive a vehicle to a simulated disaster zone, get out of the car and walk about 300 feet over a field of debris. At the disaster site, the bots must attempt to shut off a valve, connect some wires, cut a hole in a wall, climb a flight of stairs and exit a building. In addition, there will be a surprise task for which the teams won’t be able to prepare, DARPA officials said.

The teams will be awarded points for each task their robot completes, and the team with the most total points at the end of the competition wins. If there’s a tie, the team whose bot completed the most tasks in the shortest time will take home the top prize, DARPA officials said.

In a real disaster, communications are often poor or nonexistent. In order to mimic this scenario, the communications link between teams and their robots will be intentionally degraded during the competition, requiring the robots to be capable of completing basic tasks on their own.

Robot expo & workshop

During the competition, DARPA will also host a robotics expo, featuring interactive demonstrations from robotics organizations, first responders and unmanned systems manufacturers. The event will include demo technologies such as MIT’s robot cheetah, which made headlines last week for its ability to detect and jump over obstacles in its path.

In addition to the robotics challenge, DARPA also held a student contest to create videos about the future implications of robotics for society, called Robots4Us. Five winning teams have been selected and will attend the challenge finals in California.

On Sunday, DARPA will host a private workshop, featuring presentations by the winning robot teams, DARPA officials, industry leaders and the winners of the student video contest. The robot teams will discuss how they achieved their success, and the other participants will discuss the role of robots in future society.

The robotics challenge will be live-streamed on the DARPA YouTube channel.

Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/06/05/robot-showdown-droids-to-face-off-in-darpa-robotics-challenge/

Robot Showdown: Droids to Face Off in DARPA Robotics Challenge

Make way for robots!

This weekend, some of the world’s most sophisticated robots will go head-to-head in a competition that tests their ability to assist humans in a natural or man-made disaster.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, funded by the U.S. military’s R&D branch, will pit 25 teams against each other as their robots attempt to complete a series of physical challenges, all while navigating around disrupted communications between the bots and their human operators.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday and Saturday (June 5 and 6) at Fairplex in Pomona, California. The winning team will take home $2 million, while the runner-up and third-place teams will receive $1 million and $500,000, respectively. [See images of Robots in this Year’s DARPA Challenge]

The challenge

The challenge, which began in 2012, was inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, in which an earthquake and tsunami led to the buildup of explosive gas in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The radioactive environment made it dangerous for human responders to take action, but robots could have investigated the stricken nuclear reactor in their stead, DARPA officials said.

“Disasters, both natural and man-made, are something we see every year happening throughout the world,” Gill Pratt, program manager for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, said in a news conference in mid-May. “If we could only intervene [with robots], we could mitigate the extent of these disasters,” he said.

Teams from countries around the world, including Japan, China, Germany, Italy and the United States, will compete in the two-day challenge. In December 2013, 16 teams competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials in Florida, and 11 teams were selected to attend the finals. This March, another 14 teams qualified to take part in the finals.

The competitors include Carnegie Mellon University’s CHIMP robot (short for CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform), NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s RoboSimian, Japan’s Aero DRC robot and Germany’s Momaro robot, to name just a few.

This weekend, the 25 finalist teams and their robots will attempt to complete one of four simulated disaster courses, featuring eight different tasks. Each robot will have one hour each day to complete the course.

The tasks

As part of the course, the robots will have to drive a vehicle to a simulated disaster zone, get out of the car and walk about 300 feet over a field of debris. At the disaster site, the bots must attempt to shut off a valve, connect some wires, cut a hole in a wall, climb a flight of stairs and exit a building. In addition, there will be a surprise task for which the teams won’t be able to prepare, DARPA officials said.

The teams will be awarded points for each task their robot completes, and the team with the most total points at the end of the competition wins. If there’s a tie, the team whose bot completed the most tasks in the shortest time will take home the top prize, DARPA officials said.

In a real disaster, communications are often poor or nonexistent. In order to mimic this scenario, the communications link between teams and their robots will be intentionally degraded during the competition, requiring the robots to be capable of completing basic tasks on their own.

Robot expo & workshop

During the competition, DARPA will also host a robotics expo, featuring interactive demonstrations from robotics organizations, first responders and unmanned systems manufacturers. The event will include demo technologies such as MIT’s robot cheetah, which made headlines last week for its ability to detect and jump over obstacles in its path.

In addition to the robotics challenge, DARPA also held a student contest to create videos about the future implications of robotics for society, called Robots4Us. Five winning teams have been selected and will attend the challenge finals in California.

On Sunday, DARPA will host a private workshop, featuring presentations by the winning robot teams, DARPA officials, industry leaders and the winners of the student video contest. The robot teams will discuss how they achieved their success, and the other participants will discuss the role of robots in future society.

The robotics challenge will be live-streamed on the DARPA YouTube channel.

Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/06/05/robot-showdown-droids-to-face-off-in-darpa-robotics-challenge/