South Koreans triumph in U.S. robot challenge


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Congrats to SK and everyone else involved. The Japanese teams, unless I have the names wrong, finished in the middle, except Team Hydra which dropped out because of an 'electronics accident'. Last place was a Chinese team who couldn't get their visas on time to attend.

Anyway, not really a big surprise SK electronics are beating out everyone else.

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Yet, without the most demanding aspect of the environment actually not being present due to obvious health issues, the bots weren't really put to the test.

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UK9393: Very true. I've found it odd since they announced the final 20 teams in the competition and talked about Fukushima, etc., when not one of those robots would make it even close to accomplishing any goals in the reactor buildings. But, if Fukushima DID in fact inspire this kind of contest to push people into advancing robotics in general, then that can't be a bad thing.

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These appear to be operator controlled vehicles so the human is still in charge at least. During the meltdowns operator controlled rovers stopped working due to the radiation interfering with the controls, so there are limits

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Electronics is where most technological innovation comes from.So it's no surprise, the world's most technologically advanced countries made it to the finals and eventually South Korea won. I'm a systems engineer and technological advancement is now dictated by electronics. Samsung is the world's largest technology company and I really hope there will be other companies like it in the future. Actually Samsung is spending billions of dollars in R&D for robotics and drones so I'm excited what the next few years will bring us. Gasoline cars have had the same technology for decades. Electric cars with highly complex engines will be the next big thing for the auto industry and by the mid-2020's they are set to overtake gasoline cars. Go read The whole industry I work in are expecting gasoline cars to make up less than 20% of global car sales by 2030. Tesla will be the main company selling electric cars soon. Companies like Toyota and Nissan will eventually become very unprofitable as they have far too much overhead for gasoline cars. Aeronautic/aerospace engineering has remained stagnant for decades too. All the "new" aircraft that Boeing makes are based off old models and their engines are nearly identical with a few new electronic modules, parts and tweaks. Robotics is completely based on electrical engineering, along with computer engineering. It's got it's own field called "mechatronic engineering" but in reality, it's a mix of electric and computer engineering with elements of mechanical engineering and telecommunications engineering.

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Can we now say South Korea leads the world in robotics? I hope this doesn't lead to more hard feelings in Japan, but I guess that's too much to ask, reading the Japanese internet forums on this news.

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The trials held in 2013 were won by a Japanese company robot which was a spin off from university of tokyo. That company was eventually purchased by Google and taken off grid and did not participate in the finals held yesterday. So technically it was the Japanese company which won on same tasks. Google not only purchased this Japanese spin off but also Boston dynamics

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smithinjapan: Last place was a Chinese team who couldn't get their visas on time to attend.

Too bad they missed out. Maybe they should've tried to find volunteers already in the USA, to run their bot.

I don't think it counts as "last place", though. Four teams had zero times and zero points in the finals, tied at last place. The one Chinese team wikipedia lists as competing in the finals doesn't show up in the standings in the finals.

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Congrats South Korea!

Please help Japan when there's another nuclear disaster.

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Hotmail, just because Korea won one event, doesn't make them the world leaders in robotics. I guess Japan and US still share this distinction (both by their diversity and by the amount of research done).

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turbotsat: "I don't think it counts as "last place", though."

True. My bad. They weren't even in the rankings, nor were the Japanese team Hydra (at least not the final results).

ebisen: "Hotmail, just because Korea won one event, doesn't make them the world leaders in robotics."

I figured some people would be upset about this. Winning this competition kind of proves they are, no? next you'll be saying Samsung being number one doesn't prove it beats Panasonic or Sony -- others on here have.

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That was ONE robot; South Korea is number one in your mind only.


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South Korean boffins carried home the $2 million top prize Saturday after their robot triumphed in a disaster-response challenge

Back in early 1960s, South Korea was impoverished, sleepy and backward. Per capita income was less than US $ 65 back then. How far South Korea has blossomed as technology giant in my living memory ? In my wildest dream, I have not seen South Korea robots will become the savior of Fukushima Nuclear crisis. No human will be sacrificed for nuclear radiation leakage in the future.

No disrespect to other malfunctioned robots makers. The aim of robot competition is real time response for emergency circumstances. If their robots have delayed a few seconds during the crisis, many lives will be lost. Many farmland will be spoiled by radio activity. A few seconds of delay means that robots are unfit and unreliable for real crisis.

Japanese robot Aiko is cute and polite. However I do not think she can handle the touch, stressful, ultra fast and dangerous situation like Fukushima. Well done and congratulation to Team KAIST of SK.

Hope It will replace the Samsung which has manufactured some defective washing machines. Although I was a fan of Samsung, I will no longer buying Samsung white goods which has burnt my laundry.

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DARPA: Thank you for your hard work...we will now turn this working prototype into a weapon.

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Some people here apparently think the winner robot can be used inside the Fukushima reactors. The feeling I got from the article is that not even the winner can be used there with the current high radiations. It's just a prototype. What I find the most surprising is the lack of professional robots that can be used in nuclear crisis despite the world being plenty of nuclear reactors. This says a lot about the nuclear industry...they don't invest in safety how they should.

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Radiation-hardened CPUs and boards are really expensive. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a board, and these bots would need several. And the boards generally lag non-rad-hard tech by quite a few years.

If the rules didn't require it, and not team was expecting to actually use their bot at Fukushima or Chernobyl after the challenge, probably none of the bots are rad-hardened.

Some dated rad-hard CPU/board prices:: (The prices in tens of thousands given for one program's processor probably apply to the processor only. The prices in 100's of thousands of USD probably apply to boards.)

The market is tiny in terms of units but the prices have to cover even greater engineering and development effort, divided by units sold.

BAE brags about "Over 600 BAE Systems processors on over 200 satellites" but compare that with cellphone market numbers.

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@Alex80 "Some people here apparently think the winner robot can be used inside the Fukushima reactors".

Some people do. Apparently from South Korea. In reality, the vehicle for working operations inside the reactor must be very well-protected from radiation exposure.

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