The DRC Finals are shaping up to be mix of cool robots doing cool things, and machines destroying themselves through slapstick. That's the only hope for at least one or two systems achieving fleeting moments of human-level performance. If they can do that, they'll be the kind of machines that have previously existed only in science fiction, and the first real glimmer of hope for a future populated by Rosie the Robot-style domestic servants. In fact, the competition isn't even over, and it's already made an impact on the field of robotics. In the run-up to the 2013 trials, Google essentially purchased whole sections of the DRC, when it acquired Boston Dynamics, the firm that DARPA had contracted to supply multiple teams with Atlas humanoids, and SCHAFT, the Japanese startup that wound up scoring the most points in the trials. But in a surprise move, Google decided to take SCHAFT out of the competition. Though no official reason was ever given, if Google hadn't withdrawn, it might have been in the uncomfortable position of receiving more funding from the Pentagon, immediately after announcing that it wouldn't be taking on any new military contacts. According to a current DRC team member, who did not want to be identified, this decision was good news for the remaining teams, joking that SCHAFT's bot would have completed the DRC finals tasks "while holding a cigarette in one hand."