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By Ian Bush

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some of the top human engineers in the area are working to create the best robot.  It’s a Department of Defense disaster response competition that’s heating up this week.

Lockheed Martin and the University of Pennsylvania (along with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York) are fielding a humanoid, “Called TROOPER,” says Bill Borgia, who directs the Intelligent Robotics Lab at Lockheed’s Cherry Hill campus.

“We’re building on top of an Atlas robot and we’re giving it intelligence, or smarts, so that it can perform human-like tasks in a real-world environment.”

Like turning a valve, opening a door, or climbing a ladder — things a robot could do in places we can’t (or wouldn’t) want to go.

“Responding to natural or man-made disasters that could occur in the world.”

Drexel University has developed HUBO — its entry in the robot challenge, with a $2 million prize at stake from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

They’re among 17 teams facing off in Florida late this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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