DARPA's Robotics Challenge is finally coming to a close. The finals will be held on June 5th to 6th, almost three years after the contest was launched, in Pomona, California -- but you thankfully can watch it live, even if you can't make it there in person. CuriosityStream, a new website the serves up documentaries, will live stream all 25 contenders as they go through a series of tasks in a simulated disaster-response course during the event. It will also show a few specials explaining the idea behind the challenge, a couple of finalist profiles and documentaries tackling the 2011 nuclear plant catastrophe in Japan. This contest is part of DARPA's efforts to find an effective first-response and search-and-rescue humanoid robot, prompted by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.
DARPA put the contenders through several trials throughout the years. Those were once dominated by the erstwhile top contender, S-One, created by a Japanese team called SCHAFT. S-One ultimately had to drop from the contest, however, since Google snapped up the startup for its own robotic ambitions. To make the finals more exciting, Pentagon's mad science division issued a set of more stringent rules for the contenders back in January. DARPA wants all the finalists to be able to move without a tether, get up on their own without assistance and continue functioning for brief periods of communication blackout, wherein they won't have any contact with their operators.
To watch the event, simply go to live.curiositystream.com on June 5th from 10AM to 7PM ET and on June 6th from 11AM to 9:30PM ET. The website typically charges a monthly fee to access its documentaries, but you can access the livestream and all videos and content about the DARPA challenge for free.
PS: We're going to be there in Pomona to cover the event, so make sure to also keep an eye on Engadget this Friday and Saturday.