Meet the Next Generation of Doctors—and Their Surgical Robots

While there is currently no single standardized curriculum for using the surgical robot, students generally practice on simulators, work as bedside assists for around 10 cases, and then transition to working on the console with the help of an attending surgeon. In the past, there has been an emphasis on the amount of time spent […]

Read More

AI Is Building Highly Effective Antibodies That Humans Can’t Even Imagine

James Field, founder and CEO of LabGenius. Photograph: LabGenius The tests are almost fully automated, with an array of high-end equipment involved in preparing samples and running them through the various stages of the testing process: Antibodies are grown based on their genetic sequence and then put to the test on biological assays—samples of the […]

Read More

This Artificial Muscle Moves Stuff on Its Own

The cucumber-mimicking experiment is the first demonstration of plant-like tropism in an actuator, and it’s part of a move toward “soft” robotics, which use actuators built from fluid materials like cloth, paper, fibers, and polymers, rather than rigid metal joints, to prioritize versatile motion. Softness would improve robots in situations where flexibility and low-profile design […]

Read More

Get Ready for 3D-Printed Organs and a Knife That ‘Smells’ Tumors

To doctors and nurses working 75 years ago, when the UK’s National Health Service was founded, a modern ward would be completely unrecognizable. Fast-forward into the future, and hospitals are likely to look very different again. These are some of the changes you’re likely to see in years to come. Fully autonomous surgical robots Researchers […]

Read More

Rovers Are So Yesterday. It’s Time to Send a Snakebot to Space

If the boxy Opportunity rover could elicit years of anthropomorphized love and goodwill, then surely Earthlings will warm to the idea of sending a snake-shaped robot to the moon. This robot—the brainchild of students at Northeastern University—is meant to wiggle across difficult terrain, measure water in the pit of craters, and bite its own tail to become […]

Read More

Robots Are Helping Immunocompromised Kids ‘Go to School’

That was the key; those interactions that I craved in the hospital were the same that many missed during the pandemic. The robot could provide that for me in a way that Zoom classes never could. When asked about the potential of using telepresence robots following the pandemic, Chiu agrees that virtual classes have changed […]

Read More

Forget Silicon. This Computer Is Made of Fabric

Dan Preston logs in to our video call in a respectable, nondescript button-up shirt. His personal style may lean toward the conventional, but the Rice University mechanical engineer is here to tell me about his creative new fashion design. His team has made a shiny black jacket that performs logic—without electronics. Specifically, the jacket can […]

Read More

Why DeepMind Is Sending AI Humanoids to Soccer Camp

“This didn’t really work,” says Nicolas Heess, also a research scientist at DeepMind, and one of the paper’s coauthors with Lever. Because of the complexity of the problem, the huge range of options available, and the lack of prior knowledge about the task, the agents didn’t really have any idea where to start—hence the writhing […]

Read More

Swarms of Mini Robots Could Dig the Tunnels of the Future

There’s no shortage of work out there, either. China recently completed a 20-kilometer railway tunnel in the Longmen Mountains after a decade of construction. There’s the HS2 rail project in the UK, which will connect London to towns and cities in the north of the country and is set to feature more than 100 kilometers […]

Read More

The Farthest Star Sheds New Light on the Early Universe

“We almost didn’t believe it at first, it was so much farther than the previous most distant star,” Brian Welch, a PhD student at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of a Nature paper detailing the discovery, stated in a NASA press release. “Normally at these distances, entire galaxies look like small smudges. The galaxy […]

Read More

This Cheetah Robot Taught Itself How to Sprint in a Weird Way

It’s probably for the best that human babies can’t run 9 miles per hour shortly after birth. It takes years of practice to crawl and then walk well, during which time mothers don’t have to worry about their children legging it out of the county. Roboticists don’t have that kind of time to spare, however, […]

Read More

Here Come the Underdogs of the Robot Olympics

Cornelius, a hog-sized robot with fat rubber tank treads, has come to a stop in a small, verdant courtyard on the Spanish revival campus of California State University, Channel Islands. “It’s either autonomous or broken,” Kevin Knoedler says, squinting into the summer sun, his face obscured by a mask and a hat with ear flaps. […]

Read More

This Drone Uses Piercing Talons to Perch—or Snatch Things

Quadcopters these days are so precious. They take off and hover, taking pictures or whatever, and then land, recharge—and blah. If these drones were birds, they’d be prey. But the Stereotyped Nature-Inspired Aerial Grasper, or SNAG, would be their apex predator. This new quadcopter has legs, each loaded with four 3D-printed talons that lock around […]

Read More

This Intrepid Robot Is the WALL-E of the Deep Sea

Yet just how much carbon gets trapped can vary from ocean to ocean and from season to season. In general, researchers just don’t have a good handle on the biological and chemical processes going on down there. “The rover helps us understand how much of that carbon might actually make its way into the sediments […]

Read More

This Tiny Robot Mimics the Mantis Shrimp’s Mighty Punch

The mantis shrimp boasts one of the most powerful and ultrafast punches in nature—it’s on par with the force generated by a .22-caliber bullet. This makes the creature an attractive object of study for scientists eager to learn more about the relevant biomechanics. Among other uses, it could lead to small robots capable of equally […]

Read More

Is the Robot-Filled Future of Farming a Nightmare or Utopia?

Picture this: Colossal, gas-powered autonomous robots bulldoze across acres of homogeneous farmland under a blackened sky that reeks of pollution. The trees have all been chopped down and there are no animals in sight. Pesticides are sprayed in excess because humans no longer tend to the fields. The machines do their jobs—producing massive amounts of […]

Read More

This Robot Spies on Creatures in the Ocean’s ‘Twilight Zone’

Using stereo cameras and detection algorithms, Mesobot parses its subjects’ movements and follows them. Yoerger and his colleagues demonstrated the robot’s capabilities in Monterey Bay at 650 feet deep, as it detected and then pursued a hunting jellyfish. Even more impressive, for a half hour it surreptitiously followed a fragile animal called a larvacean, which […]

Read More