These Adorable Fish Robots Form Schools Like the Real Thing

In the GIF below, we see Bluebots trying another task: a search mission. This behavior is a bit more complex, guided by a few separate directives in the algorithm. The first step is known as dispersion; the algorithm directs the robots to keep away from one another. This spreads them out in search of their […]

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The Plan to Build a Global Network of Floating Power Stations

The SL1 is meant to be attached to submersible sensor-laden research robots known as profiling floats. These devices collect data during short trips as far as a mile beneath the surface. When they emerge from the depths, they beam that information to a satellite. Today, there are thousands of profiling floats drifting through Earth’s oceans […]

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The Oldest Crewed Deep Sea Submarine Just Got a Big Makeover

Uncrewed submarines have been diving into the hadal zone for decades, but Brennan Phillips, an ocean engineer at the University of Rhode Island who specializes in remotely operated and autonomous deep sea robotics, says it’s hard to beat a human when it comes to exploring the seabed. For starters, humans can see more. Our eyes […]

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The Batteries of the Future Are Weightless and Invisible

Established aerospace companies like Airbus and startups like Zunum have been working on electrifying passenger aircraft for years. But even if they’re successful, packing a plane full of conventional cells has some major safety risks. A short circuit in a large battery pack could cause a disastrous fire or explosion. “The aerospace sector is very […]

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Boston Dynamics’ Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs … Yet

It’s impossible to talk about Boston Dynamics robots without acknowledging two things: They’re a marvel of modern engineering, and their agility can be incredibly unnerving. A 46-second video of Spot the robot “dog” opening a door has more than 56 million views on YouTube. Atlas, the company’s headless humanoid robot, can go for a jog […]

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This Robot Can Guess How You’re Feeling by the Way You Walk

In order to understand how a gait looks, though, the robot needs objective data, not subjective judgements. So the researchers used algorithms that analyzed videos of the people walking, with each person’s image overlaid by a skeleton with 16 joints, including at the neck, shoulders, and knees. Then, they used deep learning algorithms to get […]

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Moxie Is the Robot Pal You Dreamed of as a Kid

Robots are well-suited for the kinds of repetitive skill-building activities that would quickly wear down a human teacher. They can’t totally replace human interaction (yet), but they may be able to augment it. “There’s evidence to support the idea that social robots can help with skill development in children,” says Kate Darling, a research specialist […]

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If Robots Steal So Many Jobs, Why Aren’t They Saving Us Now?

Modern capitalism has never seen anything quite like the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. In a matter of months, the deadly contagious bug has spread around the world, hobbling any economy in its path. In the United States, where consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity, commerce has come to a standstill as people […]

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This Clever Robotic Finger Feels With Light

“Extracting information out of those 1,000 signals in an analytical way—it’s very, very hard to do,” says Ciocarlie, who developed the system. “I would venture to say that it’s impossible without modern machine learning.” Courtesy of Columbia University Machine learning comes into play when they’re calibrating the system. They can stick the finger on a […]

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Spot the Robot Dog Trots Into the Big, Bad World

This autumn, after years of dropping view-amassing videos of Spot the robot dog fending off stick-wielding humans and opening doors for its pals, Boston Dynamics finally announced that the machine was hitting the market—for a select few early adopters, at least. BD’s people would be the first to tell you that they don’t fully know […]

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Meet Xenobot, an Eerie New Kind of Programmable Organism

Under the watchful eye of a microscope, busy little blobs scoot around in a field of liquid—moving forward, turning around, sometimes spinning in circles. Drop cellular debris onto the plain and the blobs will herd them into piles. Flick any blob onto its back and it’ll lie there like a flipped-over turtle. Their behavior is […]

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