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January 11, 2022

Labrador Addresses Critical Need With Deceptively Simple Home Robot

It’s not often that we see a home robot that manages to be both relatively affordable and realistically technologically achievable while also solving a clear and widespread need. The iRobot Roomba was arguably the first good example of such a robot, but I’m hard pressed to think of what the second good example would be, which is why this new home robot from Labrador Systems is so exciting—it’s essentially a semi-autonomous mobile table, which is poised to have a huge […]
January 11, 2022

Why Multi-Functional Robots Will Take Over Commercial Robotics

This is a sponsored article brought to you by Avidbots. The days of having single-purpose robots for specific tasks are behind us. A robot must be multi-functional to solve today’s challenges, be cost-effective, and increase the productivity of an organization. Yet, most indoor autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) today are specialized, often addressing a single application, service, or market. These robots are highly effective at completing the task at hand, however, they are limited to addressing a single use case. While […]
December 14, 2021

Children as Social Robot Designers

The robot in the picture above is called YOLO, which stands for “your own living object.” It’s pretty weird looking—not like something you or I would design if someone were to tell us to design a social robot, right? And that’s because YOLO is a robot that was designed by, and for, children. Not adults making the kind of robot that they think kids will want, mind you, but actual children doing the designing from scratch. Getting children to design […]
December 8, 2021

Mars Helicopter Just Keeps On Going

The original mission of the Mars Helicopter (named Ingenuity) was to successfully complete a single 30-second long flight on Mars. That happened back in April. After several more successful flights, Ingenuity’s 30-day mission came to an end, but the helicopter was doing so well that NASA decided to keep it flying. Several months later, JPL promised that Ingenuity would “complete flight operations no later than the end of August,” but as of late November, the little helicopter has completed 17 […]
December 7, 2021

NYU Researchers Paving New Path for Robotics

This is a sponsored article brought to you by NYU Tandon School of Engineering. New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering is on the eve of launching a new robotics initiative that promises to take a unique approach to both research and teaching as engineering and academic disciplines, and build upon decades of robotics at the school. As the details are being finalized after years of planning, we had the opportunity to talk to four roboticists serving as the principal […]
November 23, 2021

Years Later, Alphabet’s Everyday Robots Have Made Some Progress

Last week, Google or Alphabet or X or whatever you want to call it announced that its Everyday Robots team has grown enough and made enough progress that it’s time for it to become its own thing, now called, you guessed it, “Everyday Robots.” There’s a new website of questionable design along with a lot of fluffy descriptions of what Everyday Robots is all about. But fortunately, there are also some new videos and enough details about the engineering and […]
November 5, 2021

Video Friday: Your Robot Dog

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): ICRA 2022 – May 23-27, 2022 – Philadelphia, PA, USA Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos. I don’t know how much this little quadruped from DeepRobotics costs, but […]
November 1, 2021

Why Facebook (Or Meta) Is Making Tactile Sensors for Robots

Facebook, or Meta as it’s now calling itself for some reason that I don’t entirely understand, is today announcing some new tactile sensing hardware for robots. Or, new-ish, at least—there’s a ruggedized and ultra low-cost GelSight-style fingertip sensor, plus a nifty new kind of tactile sensing skin based on suspended magnetic particles and machine learning. It’s cool stuff, but why? Obviously, Facebook Meta cares about AI, because it uses AI to try and do a whole bunch of the things […]
October 6, 2021

Caltech’s LEO Flying Biped Can Skateboard and Slackline

Back in February of 2019, we wrote about a sort of humanoid robot thing (?) under development at Caltech, called Leonardo. LEO combines lightweight bipedal legs with torso-mounted thrusters powerful enough to lift the entire robot off the ground, which can handily take care of on-ground dynamic balancing while also enabling some slick aerial maneuvers. In a paper published today in Science Robotics, the Caltech researchers get us caught up on what they’ve been doing with LEO for the past […]
October 5, 2021

See Inside DARPA's Incredible Subterranean Finals Course

When DARPA announced that the Subterranean Challenge Final Event would take place in a giant cavern complex in Louisville, and that it would include elements of tunnels, caves, and the urban underground, we had very high hopes for what the agency would put together. And, predictably, DARPA vastly exceeded those hopes. Inside of the Louisville Mega Cavern, DARPA worked for months to construct an incredible course from scratch, full of the kind of detail that you’d expect to see on […]