ROBOTICS NEWS: What's Trending in February 2021

Welcome to the seventeenth 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 February. Let's see what caught our attention this month in robotics!

Life on Mars

The big news this month? The Perseverance rover touching down on Mars. This successful mission to the Red Planet earned coverage in Engadget, the BBC, The Verge, Futurism, the Independent, and The Robot Report. What a win for the space program, and what a win for space exploration (all fueled by robotics). What worlds do you want to see these robots explore next, and do you think there's a need and desire to fuel even more of these explorations? It's something to think about with every new space success.

New Dog, New Tricks

Spot keeps adding to his arsenal! The Boston Dynamics creation learned many new tricks this month, including a self-charging ability, the use of an arm, and (of course) jumping rope. That will help it out when it gets to gym class! The Spot tricks got coverage in New Atlas, Yahoo, Mashable, CNN, and IEEE Spectrum. What kind of "tricks" would you like to see Spot add to his abilities? What would help you in your daily life?

"Soft" Skills

Who needs electronics, anyway? Per Slashgear, IEEE Spectrum, Yahoo, CNET, and New Atlas, there's a new "soft" robot creation that needs no electronics to run. Instead, this soft wonder gets its power from a steady stream of pressurized air. Check it out—the "soft" robot walks just like a turtle. Its creation will be helpful for areas without electronics (mine shafts get mentioned, for example). Where can you see this technology used best?

The Human Touch

Any movement into the realm of human senses is a boost for roboticsespecially for the sense of touch. Now, the "Shadow Sense" robot can useyou guessed itshadows to pick out when that touch happens. This breakthrough got coverage in The Engineer, New Atlas, The Robot Report, and Cornell News. Where can you see this development going? It would undoubtedly have some security and guidance use, but what about around the home? Could this development get integrated with the "smart homes" of today?

Adventures in Printing

The geniuses out at MIT have a new creation in 3D printing. Covered in Robohub, Engadget, TechCrunch, and Interesting Engineering, MIT is working on the technology to take 3D printing to the next level—making drones, robots, and more. It's an enormous boost for the industry, as accessibility is the consistent barrier to making 3D printing even more popular. What do you think: how long before there's a 3D printer in every classroom?

What's New in the Industry?

How about some quick hits from around the industry: 

What's to Come?

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 frontiers. The space race of the 1960s may be over, but the advancements in space exploration can still make our jaws drop in wonder—and most of that exploration comes from the world of robotics.

We can think of no better testimonial to the industry's power than the remarkable success of Perseverance. It displays the incredible achievements of robotics by bringing us original views of something beyond our world. How many new frontiers can robotics deliver us, and what wonders does it have in store?

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 February? Comment below, and we might feature it in our next issue!

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

Picture Credit:  NASA/JPL / Panasonic / MSCHF
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