Better, Faster, Stronger: Our Favorite Robotic Advancements of the Past Few Years

The last few years seem to have gone by very quickly and very slowly all at once. Already, the strangeness and sadness of the peak COVID-19 pandemic years feels like forever ago (not to diminish the very real impact the disease still has) — yet, it’s not hard to recall a period when time crawled to a very slow march, dominated by uncertain news reports, scrambles to find masks, and endless Netflix binges. 

It may help to think of this as the “COVID era,” picking up from that fateful day when Rudy Gobert touched all those microphones until the very present day. So, three-plus years into this COVID area, it’s worth taking a step back and exploring what’s come out of robotics in that time. As with many times of great peril, a silver lining is the technological advancements that arise from strife — often out of necessity. Indeed, these last few COVID years have brought us a great deal of changes in the industry. 

Robotics in the last few years

Here’s our quick rundown of some of the biggest, coolest, and most impactful robotics advancements and other related news from the past few years: 

  • The Eelume Concept. This remarkable company developed a snake-like “eel” robot for “subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair.” Check out the very cool designs of this in-progress creation on their website here

  • The basketball-playing robot. Could we eventually see robots taking the field to compete in sporting events? Well, this sharp-shooting robot out of Japan might be the first overall draft pick in a future R-NBA. Check out coverage of the bot here.

  • Serious T-1000 vibes. In a totally good, non-murderous way. Carnegie Mellon researchers created a robot that can “melt” its way out of tight places and reform itself elsewhere. Go ahead and take a look at the James Cameron-esque bot here

  • Robots replacing human workers? COVID-19 supercharged many automation trends at dizzying speed. The Los Angeles Times has a great rundown on the changes here

Leaders in the robotics industry

Another big takeaway from the past few years? The industry — as a whole — remained extremely strong, driven by the innovations from some of its most prominent companies. Most of these companies are not on the level of a Nike or Microsoft quite yet; however, given their continued work, it’s not out of the question that they may be bold-face business names within a few years. For example, 

  • Boston Dynamics, establish in the US, with their ever-popular robot dog “Spot” and their humanoid robot “Atlas,” remains one of the most talked-about companies in the world — earning a great deal of attention and media coverage for their new creations. 

  • The ABB company out of Switzerland is one of robotics’ true up-and-comers, with their robotic arm helping out everywhere from the Amazon to the average warehouse. It’s an organization to keep a very close eye on over the next few years.

  • Fanuc of Japan, creating astonishing automation solutions for the ever-growing EV (electric vehicle) industry. As EVs gather a larger and larger chunk of the automotive market — perhaps surpassing gas-powered vehicles within a generation — those companies supplying robotic solutions for this sector will be critical. 

Remarkable stuff to appear from the past few years, isn’t it? We’re only scratching the surface of what’s happened and what’s to come soon. Rest assured, RobotShop will remain on the bleeding edge of everything that’s happening in the industry as we enter a brand-new era. The robotics revolution is in full swing, and our continuing mission is to strive to make robotics accessible to all — driven by our guiding motto of “Everything robotics | Infinite possibilities.” 

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