ROBOTICS NEWS: What's Trending in January 2020

Welcome to the sixth 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.

Welcome to the new year of 2020! It's time to set this year off on the right foot with what has caught our attention this month.

The Big Story: The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas

The biggest robotics and tech event of the year took place in Las Vegas earlier in January! This always-remarkable event earned plenty of coverage in Wired, Engadget, Popsci, and Silicon Canals. Some of the highlights?

  • Sony's new Vision S EV car.
  • The "Turnstyle" feature on the Quibi streaming service.
  • The PuduTech "BellaBot" waiter
  • The Groove X' "LOVOT" huggable robot pet

That's only a fraction of the coolness that was on display at this year's CES. Be sure to check out the links for a full rundown on all the remarkable technologies that the great robotics companies (and other tech companies) throughout the world brought to show off. Also - if you ever have the chance, be sure to go out to Vegas to enjoy the show. It's well worth it.

A Giant Hop for Robotkind: A Living Robot, Using Frog Cells

There's a Jurassic Park-like scenario happening in the robot world. Scientists have created a new "living, self-healing" robot by patching in stem cells from frogs. Sounds insane, right? Be sure to check out the breakdown of how they did it on CNN, Popular Mechanics, and CNET.

This development has enormous repercussions in several different fields - most notably, the medical field, as these new "living robots" could start to explore cellular communication. There's also plenty of potential for these little creatures for drug delivery or environmental cleanup. What other possibilities could you see these little robots get used for?

Taking a Charge: The Electric Robot Charging Car

The next step in electric cars is here. No need to even get out to charge your vehicle anymore - just call the new Volkswagen electric car charging robot, and ZAP, you're good to go back on the road. This "shocking" development earned coverage in Futurism, Engadget, and Digital Trends.

Would you consider using this for your electric car when you're out on the road? Or do you like the process of stopping and plugging in?

Samsung Introduces "Ballie" the Robot

Finally, we've got an adorable new robot friend in the world! Samsung introduced Ballie the Robot at the CES, a rolling helper for the modern smart home. Think of it as a combination between Rosie from The Jetsons and BB-8 from Star Wars. It got coverage in Engadget, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Would you have one of these in your smart home?

What's New in the Industry

How about some quick hits from around the industry?

  • There's a Charmin "toilet paper robot" that will bring you TP in all of those emergencies. I'd make another joke here, but I can't think of anything appropriate. It earned coverage in CNET and Digital Trends.
  • How about a "Pigeon Bot" - a bird-like robot created with 40 pigeon feathers? Probably pretty easy for this to fly away from a car. Read about it in NPR and Engadget.
  • On the stranger side, there's this faceless robot baby from Japan, featured in BoingBoing and Futurism. Not nightmare fuel AT ALL.
  • For a relaxing ride around town, there's the seated Segway - featured in Wired this month. They compare it to the WALL-E hoverchairs, which seems appropriate.
  • Ford has a two-legged robot for automated deliveries now. It's in Mashable and the Technology Review.
  • Remember the pizza-making robot we covered a while back? It faced off against the top Vegas pies in a CES demonstration - covered by CNET.
  • Finally, we're going under the sea! There's an aquatic robot set to prowl the depths for seabed samples. Check out this cool story in New Atlas.

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? It's from the CES show. It's great that the industry has such a high-profile outlet to show off all of the intriguing advances out there! The CES is a great place to see everything - from fuzzy robots to practical night-sky star maps and smartwatches and amazing "tattoo" machines, breakthroughs both big and small are out there (with a big focus on robots for everyday home life). It's an excellent showcase for everything the robotics industry is doing to make everyday life a little cooler.

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

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

Picture Credit: Douglas Blackiston, Tufts University / Samsung / Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® 
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