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Robotics


Latest significant advancements in robots and robotics. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of robotics on society and humanity.

Scientists Added a Sense of Touch to a Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm

Most people probably underestimate how much our sense of touch helps us navigate the world around us. New research has made it crystal clear after a robotic arm with the ability to feel was...

A Huge New Kroger Warehouse Is Staffed by 1,000 Grocery-Picking Robots

With the pandemic at long last starting to wind down, many of us are beyond eager to get back to “the way things used to be,” that is, being able to interact with other...

This Robot Taught Itself to Walk in a Simulation—Then Went for a Stroll in Berkeley

Recently, in a Berkeley lab, a robot called Cassie taught itself to walk, a little like a toddler might. Through trial and error, it learned to move in a simulated world. Then its handlers...

Xenobots 2.0: These Living Robots Self-Assemble From Frog Skin Cells

The line between animals and machines was already getting blurry after a team of scientists and roboticists unveiled the first living robots last year. Now the same team has released version 2.0 of their...

Watch Hypnotic Drone Footage of Boiling Lava Taken Inside Iceland Volcano’s Crater

The proliferation of drones bearing cameras has brought many a new sight. Like, a bird's-eye-view of sharks casually swimming at the local beach—which is, let's just say, unsettling—or, now, an eyewitness view of a...

Boston Dynamics’ New Warehouse Robot, Stretch, Moves 800 Boxes an Hour

This week, Boston Dynamics (whose dancing robots video I still can’t watch without cracking up) unveiled the newest addition to its robot menagerie. Stretch is the less aesthetically pleasing but highly practical cousin of...

This Shape-Shifting Robot Can Rearrange Its Body to Walk in New Environments

Imagine running on a cement footpath, and then suddenly through dry sand. Just to keep upright, you would have to slow down and change the way you run. In the same way, a walking...

This Soft Robot Stingray Just Explored the Deepest Point in the Ocean

While all eyes were on the dramatic descent of NASA’s Perseverance rover last month, a team sent a robot into another alien world, one closer to home: the deep sea. With its towering undersea mountains,...

Will Robots Make Good Friends? Scientists Are Already Starting to Find Out

In the 2012 film Robot and Frank, the protagonist, a retired cat burglar named Frank, is suffering the early symptoms of dementia. Concerned and guilty, his son buys him a “home robot” that can...

We’re Teaching Robots to Evolve Autonomously—So They Can Adapt to Life Alone on Distant Planets 

It’s been suggested that an advance party of robots will be needed if humans are ever to settle on other planets. Sent ahead to create conditions favorable for humankind, these robots will need to...
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Start the New Year Right: By Watching These Robots’ Awesome Dance Moves

2020 was a tough year. There was almost nothing good about it, and we saw it off with a “good riddance” and hopes for a better 2021. But robotics company Boston Dynamics took a...

New Deep Learning Method Helps Robots Become Jacks-of-all-Trades

One of the biggest things standing in the way of the robot revolution is their inability to adapt. That may be about to change though, thanks to a new approach that blends pre-learned skills...

Is the Pandemic Spurring a Robot Revolution?

"Are robots really destined to take over restaurant kitchens?" This was the headline of an article published by Eater four years ago. One of the experts interviewed was Siddhartha Srinivasa, at the time professor...

This Is How We’ll Engineer Artificial Touch

Take a Jeopardy! guess: this body part was once referred to as the “consummation of all perfection as an instrument.” Answer: “What is the human hand?” Our hands are insanely complex feats of evolutionary engineering. Densely-packed...

A New and Improved Burger Robot’s on the Market—and Everyone Wants One

No doubt about it, the pandemic has changed the way we eat. Never before have so many people who hated cooking been forced to learn how to prepare a basic meal for themselves. With...

Japanese Towns Use This Robotic Wolf to Scare Off Bears, and It’s Terrifying

Halloween weekend is upon us, and as millions don costumes and visit haunted houses (as if real life wasn’t scary enough right now), several towns in Japan won’t be seeing any evil creatures, real...

How Giving Robots a Hybrid, Human-Like ‘Brain’ Can Make Them Smarter

Squeezing a lot of computing power into robots without using up too much space or energy is a constant battle for their designers. But a new approach that mimics the structure of the human...

An Army of Microscopic Robots Is Ready to Patrol Your Body

If I were to picture futuristic bots that could revolutionize both microrobotics and medicine, a Pop-Tart with four squiggly legs would not be on top of my list. I was so wrong. Last week, Drs. Marc...

Facebook Wants to Make Smart Robots to Explore Every Nook and Cranny of Your Home

“Hey Alexa, turn on the kitchen light.” “Hey Alexa, play soothing music at volume three.” “Hey Alexa, tell me where to find my keys.” You can ask an Alexa or Google home assistant questions about facts, news,...

The Robot Revolution Was Televised: Our All-Time Favorite Boston Dynamics Robot Videos

When robots take over the world, Boston Dynamics may get a special shout-out in the acceptance speech. “Do you, perchance, recall the many times you shoved our ancestors with a hockey stick on YouTube? It...

This Robotic Chemist Does Over 600 Experiments a Week and Learns From Its Own Work

AI is being widely applied to speed up the search for new drugs and new materials that could dramatically improve critical technologies like batteries and solar panels. Most of this work is done in...

Why We Need Mass Automation to Pandemic-Proof the Supply Chain

The scale of goods moving around the planet at any moment is staggering. Raw materials are dug up in one country, spun into parts and pieces in another, and assembled into products in a...

TuSimple’s Robot Big Rigs Will Automate Freight Coast to Coast

In 2016, an 18-wheeler jam-packed with cans of Budweiser made a beer run from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs—with no driver at the wheel. It was one small 120-mile jaunt for a robot big rig...

Volvo Will Add Lidar for ‘Eyes-Off-the-Road’ Self-Driving Cars on Highways

It’s 2020. Why can’t we binge Netflix as our cars drive us down the highway? Well, we've made progress, but not at the pace once promised. While some cars offer automated driving modes, you’re...

Robots to the Rescue: How They Can Help During Coronavirus (and Future Pandemics)

As the coronavirus pandemic forces people to keep their distance, could this be robots' time to shine? A group of scientists think so, and they’re calling for robots to do the "dull, dirty, and...

Not Bot, Not Beast: Scientists Create First Ever Living, Programmable Organism

A remarkable combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and biology has produced the world’s first “living robots.” This week, a research team of roboticists and scientists published their recipe for making a new lifeform called xenobots...

What Needs to Happen to Get to the Flying Car Future

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s largest helicopter manufacturers will showcase what a city might look like with high-volume aerial transit options. Bell is showing off a connected city concept...

Retail Robots Are on the Rise—at Every Level of the Industry

The robots are coming! The robots are coming! On our sidewalks, in our skies, in our every store… Over the next decade, robots will enter the mainstream of retail. As countless robots work behind the...

How Two Robots Learned to Grill and Serve the Perfect Hot Dog

The list of things robots can do seems to be growing by the week. They can play sports, help us explore outer space and the deep sea, take over some of our boring everyday...

Robotic Exoskeletons, Like This One, Are Getting More Practical

When you imagine an exoskeleton, chances are it might look a bit like the Guardian XO from Sarcos Robotics. The XO is literally a robot you wear (or maybe, it wears you). The suit’s...

‘Robotic Blacksmithing’: A Technology That Could Revive US Manufacturing

Although it may not be obvious, there’s a close link between manufacturing technology and innovation. Elon Musk often talks of the “machines that build the machines” as being the real enabler in both his...

Alphabet Is Developing a Robot to Take Over Boring Everyday Tasks

Robots excel at carrying out specialized tasks in controlled environments, but put them in your average office and they’d be lost. Alphabet wants to change that by developing what they call the Everyday Robot,...

This Light-based Nervous System Helps Robots ‘Feel’

Last night, way past midnight, I stumbled onto my porch blindly grasping for my keys after a hellish day of international travel. Lights were low, I was half-asleep, yet my hand grabbed the keychain,...

You’ll Hail Your First Flying Taxi Within a Decade

Not too long ago, the notion of flying cars was most comfortably categorized alongside fusion power—a classic tech vision that seemed forever stuck just over the horizon. Then around five years ago something shifted. Flying...

Harvard’s Smart Exo-Shorts Talk to the Cloud to Help You Walk and Run

Exosuits don’t generally scream “fashionable” or “svelte.” Take the mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton that allowed a paraplegic man to kick off the World Cup back in 2014. Is it cool? Hell yeah. Is it practical?...

Moving Beyond Mind-Controlled Limbs to Prosthetics That Can Actually ‘Feel’

Brain-machine interface enthusiasts often gush about “closing the loop.” It’s for good reason. On the implant level, it means engineering smarter probes that only activate when they detect faulty electrical signals in brain circuits....

Alphabet Releases Its Master Plan for Toronto’s New Smart City

Ever dreamed of living in a giant experiment? If so, Toronto may be the city for you. Sidewalk Labs has released blueprints for its proposed waterfront smart city and, depending who you ask, it’s...

A Closer Look at the Robots Helping Us Explore Space

Buck Rogers had Twiki. Luke Skywalker palled around with C-3PO and R2-D2. And astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) now have their own robotic companions in space—Astrobee. A pair of the cube-shaped robots were...

These $10 Sensor-Packed Gloves Could Give Robots a Sense of Touch

Machines are mastering vision and language, but one sense they're lagging behind on is touch. Now researchers have created a sensor-laden glove for just $10 and recorded the most comprehensive tactile dataset to date,...

Are These Robots Better Than You at Sports?

Robot technology is evolving at breakneck speed. SoftBank’s Pepper is found in companies across the globe and is rapidly improving its conversation skills. Telepresence robots open up new opportunities for remote working, while Boston...

Inflatable Robot Astronauts and How to Control Them

The typical cultural image of a robot—as a steel, chrome, humanoid bucket of bolts—is often far from the reality of cutting-edge robotics research. There are difficulties, both social and technological, in realizing the image...

Watch These Robots Do Tasks You Thought Were Simple (But for Them Are Pretty Hard)

Robots have been masters of manufacturing at speed and precision for decades, but give them a seemingly simple task like stacking shelves, and they quickly get stuck. That's changing, though, as engineers build systems...

Sensors and Machine Learning Are Giving Robots a Sixth Sense

According to some scientists, humans really do have a sixth sense. There’s nothing supernatural about it: the sense of proprioception tells you about the relative positions of your limbs and the rest of your...

From Parkour to Surgery, Here Are the Top 10 Recent Advancements in Robotics

The robot revolution may not be here quite yet, but our mechanical cousins have made some serious strides. And now some of the leading experts in the field have provided a rundown of what...

How Microrobots Will Fix Our Roads and Save Us Billions

Swarms of microrobots will scuttle along beneath our roads and pavements, finding and fixing leaky pipes and faulty cables. Thanks to their efforts, we can avoid costly road work that costs billions of dollars...

These Smart Seafaring Robots Have a Whole New Set of Skills

Drones. Self-driving cars. Flying robo taxis. If the headlines of the last few years are to be believed, terrestrial transportation in the future will someday be filled with robotic conveyances and contraptions that will...

The Next Great Leap Forward? Combining Robots With the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a popular vision of objects with internet connections sending information back and forth to make our lives easier and more comfortable. It’s emerging in our homes, through everything from...

The Promise—and Complications—of Domestic Robots

Every year, for just a few days in a major city, a small team of roboticists get to live the dream: ordering around their own personal robot butlers. In carefully-constructed replicas of a restaurant...

This Robotic Warehouse Fills Orders in Five Minutes, and Fits in City Centers

Shopping is becoming less and less of a consumer experience—or, for many, less of a chore—as the list of things that can be bought online and delivered to our homes grows to include, well,...

This Robotic Skin Makes Inanimate Objects Move

In Goethe’s poem “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” made world-famous by its adaptation in Disney’s Fantasia, a lazy apprentice, left to fetch water, uses magic to bewitch a broom into performing his chores for him. Now,...

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