ROBOTICS NEWS: What's Trending in July 2020

Welcome to the tenth 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.

There were plenty of amazing things happening in the robotics industry throughout July. Let's see what caught our attention this month!

Gimmie an R! Gimme an O!

We're all missing the thrill of live baseball, right? Well, luckily, the robotics world is helping with team spirit during the pandemic. As covered in EngadgetTech Crunch, and Business Insider, the fabled "Spot" and "Pepper" robots will be "cheerleading" in Japanese baseball games this season. Yet another example of how robots are adding something to the mix - even in providing some amusement - during this wide-reaching crisis. Do you think we'll see these robots come to the States, as sports start up here?

The Walk of Life

We've seen incredible advancements in the form of robotic mobility over the past few years - and some new developments are no exception. Check out the amazing agility on a new, four-legged Italian-designed robot, which can "ninja walk" across very narrow paths, barriers, and bridges; it earned coverage in YahooEngadgetInteresting Engineering, and Mashable. Elsewhere, the A1 robot from Unitree (outside Shanghai) earned coverage in Interesting Engineering for its remarkable flexibility - including a yoga pose (namaste).

Incredible stuff, isn't it? What can you see these types of super-agile, super-nimble robots get used for in the future? Perhaps delivery of essential products and services to hard-to-reach areas, or rescue missions into treacherous environments? The range of capabilities is a staggering one.

Chasing Cars: Ford's Robot Dogs

One of America's landmark companies is deploying robotics in a fascinating new way. Ford is using two Boston Dynamics robots (of course) in their Sterling Heights, MI facility. These robot dogs roam the facility and use advanced technology to laser-scan the floors, delivering Ford a hyper-realistic Computer-Aided Design (CAD) layout of the building. Ford can then use the layout for planning and upgrading purposes. This robotics development earned coverage in YahooWCBS, and Mashable. What an interesting use for the automotive industry - and the architecture industry. Could you see yourself deploying these types of robotics for your own building needs in the future?

What's New in the Industry?

How about some quick hits from around the industry?

  • How about a whole new era for janitorial services? An MIT-designed robot uses custom UV-C light to zap germs out of a warehouse in around a half an hour. This development earned coverage in CNN and on The Next Web.
  • Talk about efficiency - a new robotic lab assistant from the University of Liverpool in England can work around 22 hours a day doing experiments. Stories of this creation are in The Verge and
  • A little off the top, please, Mr. Robot? As covered in Popular Mechanics, a man built a robotic barber to give himself a quarantine haircut. Even more impressive? All scissors, no trimmers.
  • Finally, let's head to space! From Futurism - NASA is deploying a robot to probe the International Space Station for leaks. Also covered in the Tribune of India, these robots have their own "hotel" on the Space Station in order to free up -well, space - for the rest of the crew. Talk about out-of-this-world digs, huh?

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? How about the pure adaptability of the modern robot world. In this chaotic world, robotics are filling in a lot of those gaps that we're missing on a regular basis - doing everything from cutting hair and disinfecting warehouses to providing some team spirit at baseball games. The sheer variety of uses never ceases to amaze. Let's hope we never lose that sense of wonder

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 July? 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.

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Picture Credit: MIT CSAIL ; Dynamic Legged Systems Lab / YouTube ; Softbank Hawks
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