Eight years ago, the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency organized a painful-to-watch contest that involved robots slowly struggling (and often failing) to perform a series of human tasks, including opening doors, operating power tools, and driving golf carts. Clips of them fumbling and stumbling through the Darpa Robotics Challenge soon went viral.
Today the descendants of those hapless robots are a lot more capable and graceful. Several startups are developing humanoids that they claim could, in just a few years, find employment in warehouses and factories.
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