Welcome to the 19th installment in our monthly series, What's Trending in Robotics News! We cover all the breaking news, hot issues, trending stories, and cool stuff that's happening—or has happened—in the robotics industry. There were plenty of amazing things happening in the robotics industry throughout April. Let's see what caught our attention this month in robotics!
Boston Dynamics is at it again! Covered in Mashable, Futurism, TechCrunch, and cNet, Boston Dynamics unveiled its new robot called "Stretch." Ideal for warehouse conditions, "Stretch" helps offload and sort cargo, can unload trucks and build pallets, and can move up and down ramps and around obstacles. Check out the links provided for some insight into this remarkable new robot.
What a fantastic invention. For those of you involved in shipping/warehousing/storage, how would this change the game? Or how else could you see this robot getting deployed?
How's this for a hunter: covered in RoboHub, Engadget, The Robot Report, Extreme Tech, SlashGear, and New Atlas, the new RF-Grasp robot can "see" through walls by using an RF radio transmitter signal. There's a great demonstration video included with the articles. It's an incredible new technology, though it's still a little way away from getting perfected. How do you think this breakthrough could get used for robots in your industry or others?
Earning coverage in TechXPlore, New Atlas, Tech Crunch, Gizmodo, Futurity, and Engadget, the revolutionary "Snake" robot from Carnegie Mellon University (actually called the HUMRS for Hardened Underwater Modular Robot Snake) took to the water recently. The primary mission of HUMRS? Check out Navy ships and subs in ports, cutting down on all the time a vessel has to stay docked. What else could you see this friendly snake robot getting used for? Maybe it could scare Indiana Jones in the brand-new movie that's coming out soon.
Seeing a baby take its first steps in the world is one of nature's true thrills. The same goes for the robotics world. Covered in Interesting Engineering, TechXPlore, Singularity Hub, and Technology Review, the "Cassie" robot from the University of California-Berkeley taught itself to walk. It even went on a stroll by itself! Check out the links for some amazing videos.
What are the next "steps" for this type of Robot AI? This seems like a giant leap forward. How long will it be before a new generation of college kids sees these robots playing catch in the quad right alongside them?
Great news for all the people that want their packages sooner (and who doesn't?). Covered in Mashable, Robotics Tomorrow, and IEEE Spectrum, the "Dill" robot from Pickle (get it?) is a box-unloading marvel. It's another important development for the packing and shipping industry, certainly one element of the economy critical in the pandemic world. It's hard not to think about this invention and not think about the human effects from it, however; how many jobs could this robot potentially replace in the Amazon warehouses (and elsewhere)?
How about some quick hits from around the industry:
There is a lot of news out there—but these are the stories that caught our eyes this month. If we could give one big theme for the month, it would be "labor." Check out all of the new developments that have to do with shipping and warehousing. There's a new robot for offloading and sorting cargo and another one for rapid shipping; even the "seeing through walls" robot has some practical implications for the industry. How much different will that sector of business look when all of these robotic advancements get perfected? It's sure something to think about.
One more thing, readers—if you have anything that we should add for the next edition, let us know! What caught your attention in the robotics world throughout April? Comment below, and we might feature it in our next issue!