ROBOTICS NEWS: What’s Trending in February 2020

Welcome to the seventh installment in our monthly series, What's Trending in Robotics News! We will cover all the breaking news, hot issues, trending stories, and cool stuff that is happening - or has happened - in the robotics industry. We're well into the new year now, and there's plenty of amazing things happening in the robotics industry. Let's dive in and explore what's caught our attention this month!

Robotics and the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, the world of robotics is working to combat the outbreak. There are a host of intriguing robots involved in helping fight the epidemic. In order to avoid the disease getting spread by human contact, robots are now doing everything from delivering medical supplies to packages.

This intriguing usage earned coverage from a host of high-profile sources throughout the world, including Fox, and In a bleak and unsettled time, this is a nice reminder of how innovation truly helps humanity!

Wicked Cool: The Newest from Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics always has some of the coolest innovations in the industry. February 2020 is no exception. First - as covered in the Boston GlobeFuturism, and Interesting Engineering - "Spot," the famed Boston Dynamics robot dog that's earned plenty of coverage since its debut last year, is headed out to patrol oil rigs. Sounds like a "ruff" job.

Sorry for that pun, everyone. To make up for it, how about this fun Boston Dynamics spot with - well, with Spot the robot dog? In it, the robot dog pulls a rickshaw holding former Mythbusters host Adam Savage. Fun, right? This earned coverage in CNETBusiness Insider, and elsewhere. It's amazing how much innovation comes out of Boston Dynamics. Given the company's popularity, how long do you think it will be before it's whispered about like Apple or IBM is?

Mind-bending: The DARPA Mind Control Swarm Robot

Some kind of intimidating headline there, right? Well, just wait until you read the article in Futurism or PopularMechanics. In something straight out of Ender's Game, a DARPA-backed project is tracking gamers' brainwaves. The hope? These brainwaves can someday help control waves of robot armies. Incredible to think about the sci-fi-turned-reality aspirations of this story.

Bloody Good: The Blood-Drawing Robot

As covered in CNETEngadget, and Forbes, there's a new breed of robot that is superior at taking blood samples. There's a lot of intriguing stuff in these articles - especially when it comes to such a standard medical procedure. Would you feel comfortable with a robot taking your blood the next time you had to go into a clinic or a hospital?

What's New in the Industry

How about some quick hits from around the industry?

  • Looks like we'll need to develop some robotic Gatorade. As covered in EngadgetScience MagazineForbes, and Mashable, there's now a robot that "sweats" to cool down. Try not to get stuck behind it at the gym.
  • The wizards at MIT have now developed "sensorized skin" for robots. This intriguing innovation got coverage from MITTechCrunch, and DesignBoom. No word yet on if there's a hand cream for robots in the works.
  • Ouch! There's a child robot from Japan that can "feel pain." This rather frightening development earned a profile in the Science NewsIFI Science, and the Telegraph. Sounds like a plotline from a Star Trek episode, no?
  • Indiana Jones HATES this development. There's now a robot snake perfect for search and rescue, covered in Yahoo and New Atlas. Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?

Some other fascinating quick hits: Iran's most advanced humanoid robot, Serena IV, is hereRobot Spider-Man is swinging around to amuse and delight. Oh, and a robot is conducting an orchestra!

What's to Come?

Of course, that's only just a fraction of all the robotics news out there - but these are intriguing stories. One interesting takeaway we picked up this month? In a tumultuous time around the globe driven by the coronavirus, it's nice to see how robotics can help save lives and prevent the further spread of disease. Another wonderful reminder of the benefits robotics bring us (the blood-drawing robot is another example of this).

One more thing, readers - if you have anything that we should add-in for the next edition, let us know! What caught your attention in the robotics world throughout February? Comment below, and we might feature it in our next issue!

Be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay up to date on the latest news in the field.

Picture Credit: Douglas Blackiston, Tufts University / Hopkins University/Qiyuan Fu / OSAKA University
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