The DARPA Humanoid Challenge is still a hot topic! Competitors start to organize. Davide Faconti who led the REEM-B humanoid project at Pal Robotics is currently recruiting partners for a European team.
In the meanwhile, the DARPA continues to prepare the competition. The newly launched Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) is in charge of the simulator that will be used in the simulation league. Since OSRF takes over Willow Garage for the development of ROS and Gazebo, this latter is likely to be improved and adapted to fit the DARPA’s requirements.
Speaking of challenges, there are other ones that will take place next may: ICRA Robot Challenge 2012. It is discussed by Steve Cousins CEO of Willow Garage interviewed in episode 102 of the RobotsPodcast. Cousins believes that no team will succeed to achieve the mobile manipulation challenge (AKA Sushi Boat Challenge) this year. Indeed, it involves complex manipulation and perception in a dynamic environment. The robot has to pick dishes on a rotating table based only on its sensors. No tags or any other landmark will be put on items that should be handled by robots.