What's happening in the robotics field for August 2023? Welcome to the 40th installment in our monthly series, What's Trending in Robotics Field! 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 August. Let's see what caught our attention this month with the trending news in robotics for August 2023.
One of the most indelible sights of America’s lunar expeditions is of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (or LRV or “moon buggy”), the four-wheeled vehicle astronauts utilized to explore our nearest celestial neighbor. Well, thanks to robotics, we have a new (and smaller) generation of lunar rovers. As profiled in Interesting Engineering and on the NASA and JPL websites, the new “mini rovers” power a much smaller, mobile, and more autonomous exploration of the moon. These suitcase-sized rovers will head to the moon next year, the first step of a program that might eventually see these types of rovers provide key assists to manned planetary missions. Do you think we might one day see these robots trek across the red sands of Mars alongside their human minders?
We’re a long way away from the days of the oxen and the pushcart when it comes to the farm. Check out this story, profiled in Future Farming (here and here) and on the product’s website itself. This remarkable boxy bot called Robot One (with solar panels on its top) can clean up one hectare of soil per hour, removing weeds both with traditional tools and with lasers. It’s not cheap (it runs around $275,000 at present), but — as embedded video shows — it looks to be tremendously effective. Imagine all the back-breaking work it could save for farmers; do you think there will ever be a day where fields of these robots scuttle around a farm doing the traditional chores human farmers have done for centuries?
What do you get when you cross a spider with a gecko with robotics? Well, if you check out these links from New Atlas, Futurism, BGR, and the product’s website itself, you’ll see exactly what the “Magnecko” looks like. This remarkable new creation can scale walls with the greatest of ease, combining some of the coolest parts from its animal inspirations. It can even walk completely upside down, giving us some true Lionel Richie 1980s vibes. How do you think you might react if you walked into a room to see the “Magnecko” staring down at you from a wall — or a ceiling?!?
How about some “Quick Hits” from the month of August?
Finally, let’s take a look at one of the trending stories in the RobotShop community. As the fall season approaches, it’s important to remember that Oktoberfest is right around the corner. What’s more appropriate, then, than a beer robot to help improve efficiencies at festivals?!? Check out the sudsy innovation from One Two Beer GmbH on the Design World Online website.
There is a lot of news out there, but these stories caught our eye this month. If we could give one big theme for the month, it would be "lunar.” Mars might get all of the attention when it comes to solar system exploration — after all, humanity has already made its presence known on the moon — but the news recently reminds us there are plenty of discoveries to be made on the lonely hunk of rock orbiting our planet. India landed their spacecraft on the South Pole of the moon in August; their landing paves the way for exploration of that region and (hopefully) the discovery of ice to power future trips. Of course, this month we also saw the debut of NASA’s miniature lunar rovers, ready to journey all over the moon in 2024. What more secrets of the moon might robotics unlock?
The bottom line: robotics, as a whole, is on a roll. It applies to nearly every aspect of our lives and touches every element of our actions — from how we eat to where we will go as a species. Every month, it's a wonder to see where robotics has gone — and to imagine where the technology will go.
One more thing, readers — if you know of anything we should add for the next edition, tell us about it! What caught your attention in the robotics world throughout August? Comment below, and we might feature it in our next issue!
Picture Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech / Mark Pasveer / ETH ZURICH