DARPA's New Biotech Division Wants To Create A Transhuman Future

The Pentagon's advanced research wing has announced its latest budget — and whoa, does DARPA ever have some ambitious plans for the future. Their new Biotech unit will be harnessing biology for national security, and dealing with everything from stopping plagues to building synthetic soldiers. » 4/02/14 9:30am 4/02/14 9:30am

This Is How DARPA's Robotic VTOL X-Planes Will Dominate The Sky

The Pentagon's advanced concepts research wing has asked four companies to make "radical improvements" to vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Revealingly, the initial proposals for these VTOL X-Planes consist entirely of robots. » 3/20/14 10:20am 3/20/14 10:20am

Meet the eight astounding finalists of DARPA's Robotics Challenge

This past weekend, eight robots distinguished themselves from the rest at the DARPA Robotics Challenge, earning them a place at the 2014 Grand Challenge. Here's what you need to know about these great eight. » 12/25/13 11:06am 12/25/13 11:06am

DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s

From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the Terminator movies. They… » 12/18/13 6:50pm 12/18/13 6:50pm

Atlas Robot Breaks Ankle During First Public Performance

Pffft, so much for its reputation as a badass Terminator-style killer android. In front of dozens of journalists yesterday in Hong Kong, the 330 pound (150 kg) Atlas lost its balance and broke its right ankle during a rather simple walking demonstration. » 10/18/13 8:30am 10/18/13 8:30am

The U.S. military's robopocalyptic army is starting to take shape

Everyone, say hello to WildCat, a robotic quadruped that can run 16 mph (26 kph) without tethers. It joins an already impressive cast of conceptual bots, including an updated version of ATLAS — who, as showcased in a must-see new video, may soon appear on an episode of American Ninja. » 10/04/13 9:45am 10/04/13 9:45am

Meet the Pentagon's latest robotic abomination: ATLAS

No, it's not a souped-up version of Robby the Robot — it's ATLAS, DARPA's latest attempt at creating a humanoid robot. Unlike the super-realistic Petman, which was designed to test chemical protection clothing, this 330-pound monster is meant to assist in emergency situations. Riiiight... » 7/12/13 7:30am 7/12/13 7:30am

BigDog can now throw shit like it's nobody's business

As if Boston Dynamics's robotic pack mule wasn't terrifying enough, its designers have, in their infinite wisdom, equipped it with a throwing arm. But not just any kind of throwing arm. This thing's a total cannon — one that would make Peyton Manning jealous. Check out the video and watch BigDog toss a cinder block… » 3/01/13 6:20am 3/01/13 6:20am

Pentagon offers $2 million to the creator of the best autonomous…

DARPA, the Pentagon's techno-happy think tank, has announced a contest to spur the development of robots that could lend a helping hand during an emergency. The competition involves several tracks — including one to program the software for a pre-existing humanoid bot, and one to create a robot that can take on any… » 10/25/12 11:30am 10/25/12 11:30am

How a Remote-Controlled Cyborg Cockroach Could Save Your Life

Proving once again that this is Luc Besson's world, and we're just living in it, the world has moved one step closer to the Fifth Element. That's right, remote-controlled cockroaches. The iBionicS Lab at North Carolina State recently presented a paper at the IEEE describing a robotics system for controlling a… » 9/14/12 1:40pm 9/14/12 1:40pm

DARPA just obliterated the landspeed record for the fastest mechanical …

You remember Cheetah, don't you? Back in March, DARPA released video of the robotic quadruped galloping at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour. At the time, 18 mph was a new record, outstripping the previous one by just shy of five miles per hour. » 9/07/12 9:15am 9/07/12 9:15am