DARPA’s Robot Grabs Tools, Opens Doors

Showing-off 18 new human-hand-like maneuvers, DARPA’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) project reached the second milestone in its development, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced Friday.

In a video posted on March 1, ARM displays its dexterity. It can unlock a door with a key and turn the handle, grab a power drill and pick-up other tools. ARM completes 18 different “human-like” functions in the clip — “grasping and manipulation tasks using vision, force, and tactile sensing with full autonomy — no active human control.”

The goal of the project is to create an autonomous robot that functions better than human-operated robots. ARM’s creators not only want it to function with less human intervention, but also complete a wider variety of tasks than other robots.

“The program will attempt to reach this goal by developing software and hardware that enables robots to autonomously grasp and manipulate objects in unstructured environments, with humans providing only high-level direction,” notes the website.

ARM has an arm, hand, neck and head sensors. Check out this video to see it in action:

The bot doesn’t use the tools with much force — at least not yet. It picks up a shovel, but its grasp is somewhat flimsy. ARM grabs a power drill and drills partway into wood, but not with as much gusto that a robot created for military or other expeditions might have to possess. But even with the current functions it has, ARM still could be useful to humans in dangerous situations.

Once ARM is complete, it could serve a variety of purposes. The DARPA’s website says, “Current robotic manipulation systems save lives and reduce casualties, but are limited when adapting to multiple mission environments and need burdensome human interaction and lengthy time durations for completing tasks.”

Other robotics are used to prevent casualties in military operations and do myriad of dangerous tasks.

You can check out more information about ARM and see some cool visuals here.

What uses do you envision for this robot? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of thearmrobot.com/gallery.

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