​The unexpected pleasure of watching robots fall down

Last week, 23 robots went gear-to-gear in an obstacle course competition with life-saving implications. At the end of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, a humanoid robot called DRC-Hubo was left standing as the victor.

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But watching his competition fall (over) provided its own entertainment.

The DARPA challenge, held last weekend in California, awarded more than $3 million in prizes to engineering teams that built robots capable of performing rescue operations in emergency situations. Inspired by the aftermath of the nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, the competition encourages development of machines able to look for and save survivors, move through rubble, put out fires and even drive vehicles in situations that aren't safe for human rescue workers.

But many of the projects are still works in progress. And robots, like humans, can lose their footing, or buckle -- literally -- under pressure. Fortunately, it's not frowned upon to laugh when a robot falls down. (At least not yet.)

DARPA put together a blooper reel of knock-downs, missteps, slips, trips and falls. Who knew watching robots tip over could be so darn fun to watch? Enjoy:

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