ROBOTICS NEWS: What's Trending in March 2021

Welcome to the 18th 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 March. Let's see what caught our attention this month in robotics!

Introducing the Adaptive Robot

Like one of those "rugged" SUVs, there's a new shape-shifting robot that can take on all terrain. The DyRET robot is a Norwegian creation with four legs that transitions its body coordination depending on the landscape under its "feet"perfect for navigating around obstacles and in hazardous conditions.

This development earned coverage in The Next Web, New Atlas, The Robot Report, Singularity Hub, BBC, FreeThink, and Wired. What do you think this robot can explore? How can you see it getting used for everyday commercial/business occasionsor treks to other planets?

"Soft Robots" Meet the Deep Sea

Few things are cooler than deep-ocean explorationand a new "soft robot" recently set a new standard for traveling to the deepest recesses of the planet. A Chinese robot designed to look like a stingray got to trek 35,000 feet below the waves, all the way to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

This development made a lot of "waves" in the industry, earning coverage in Singularity Hub,, Techxplore, Science News, and cNet. What an incredible development; a month after the "Perseverance" rover made news by going to a different world, this deep-sea robot shows just how much more we have to explore on our very own planet.

Tattoo You

Imagine going into a tattoo parlor and having a robot ink you up with a design of your choice. That frontier may be closer than you think; recently, a tattoo artist used a robot to ink a design on a woman (all controlled from a remote location). The new tattoo robot earned coverage in PCMag, Futurism, Design Boom, the New York Post, and Nerdist.

Simple question here: would you trust a robot to give you that "Mom" tattoo you've always wanted, or would you prefer the human touch?

When I Paint My Masterpiece

How much would you pay for artwork from a painting robot? Well, an "NFT" piece of artwork from the humanoid robot Sophia just sold for almost $700,000, according to Reuters, Yahoo, CNN, and Republic World. A lot of different things to ponder here. First, do you buy into the "NFT" craze that's currently happening?

Is it a fad, or is it something more? Second, does robotic artwork have the same appeal that traditional human-created artwork has? Is it worth the same amount of money, and does it have the same "soul" that other artwork would have?

Perk Up Your Ears

Here's a headline: researchers have built a robot that "hears" through the ear of a dead locust. This new innovation got coverage in The Next Web, Science Daily, Nerdist, cNet, and Interesting Engineering. It's a fascinating development—a new stage of robotic technology melding the biological with the mechanical.

The question, however, remains how comfortable you will be when other biological aspects start getting integrated with robotic technology. Where is the endpoint here? At what point do we start to question this integration for ethical reasons?

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 "design." This month, let's not only celebrate the remarkable design of robots that are going to new depths in the ocean and scaling terrains that were seemingly impossible to traverselet's celebrate the robots that are creating, too! We see robots helping to tattoo humans and also creating one-of-a-kind artwork pieces for humans to enjoy. What new design and creation ideas will they achieve next? Now that we have a robot that hears, could music be so far behind? It's fascinating 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 March? 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: Tønnes Nygaard / T-Mobile / Reuters
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