NASA to enter super robot into Defense Department’s Robotic Challenge

Posted at 2:06 PM, Dec 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-20 14:07:34-05

(CNN) – It looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie.

But NASA’s new Valkyrie super robot is no Hollywood special effect.

It has detachable arms, sonar sensors and looks a little like a popular superhero.

“Meet Valkyrie, 6’2, 120 kg, super-hero robot.”

Valkyrie has got it all, cutting-edge arms that detach, mounted cameras from head to toe, and sonar sensors, it even has a glowing circle in its chest that would make tony Stark smile.

It took NASA nine months, from design to build, to produce this humanoid machine capable enough, the agency says, to enter disaster zones and provide search and rescue functions, maybe one day even go to mars.

Gill Pratt Project Manager, DARPA Robotic Challenge: “Likely NASA will send robots ahead of astronauts to the planet. These robots will help prepare the way for the human explorers and when the humans arrive, the robots and the humans will work together working together in that tight relationship.”

But first, Valkyrie has another mission.


To compete in next week’s robotic challenge, sponsored by the department of defense.

Gill Pratt Project Manager, DARPA Robotic Challenge: “The Valkyrie robot that NASA Johnson Space Flight Center has been building is really an extraordinary machine. OF all the robots that we have there, I think it’s the one with the most degrees of freedom, the most joints that can move around, and it’s really quite sophisticated and I have very high hopes for it. It’s related to the robonaut, which is a robot on the space station right now, but the robnonaut doesn’t have any legs. It can’t move around. And so, what NASA Johnson Space Flight Center is trying to do is to see whether they can add that capability that the robonaut has right now to use its arms and to perceive things with its head and also add some mobility to the platform. It’s very exciting.”

Seventeen teams from around the world will be competing in the trials, where teams will attempt to guide their robots through physical tasks that include testing mobility, dexterity and perception.

Gill Pratt Project Manager, DARPA Robotic Challenge: “What is so exciting about this is is that we’re trying to make the future. I’ve been reading science fiction books about robots ever since I was a little kid… And it’s really extraordinary thing to see these robots to get to path to help us in our lives.”

Chad Myers, CNN, Atlanta.