Trending News in the Robotics Field for May 2023

What's happening in the robotics field for May 2023? Welcome to the 37th 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 May. Let's see what caught our attention this month with the trending news in robotics for May 2023.

Rise of the Robot Pilots

We’re starting off with the wizards at NASA; the innovators from America’s space agency are partnering with Reliable Robots to ensure the safety of unmanned planes as they travel across the country. This development earned coverage in Future Flight, Robotics and Automation News, Aviation Week, and STAT Trade Times. At this point, it seems exceedingly likely that we’ll see these types of unmanned, robotic planes cris-crossing the country within the next decade or so (if not sooner). Would you feel comfortable with them overhead?

Deep-Space Robot Snakes!

Ignore the B-movie headline — let’s talk about the deep-space robot snake news. Our friends from NASA were very busy last month. Covered in Universe Today, Interesting Engineering, PC Mag, and Digital Trends (and video coverage in Newsweek), NASA is testing a squirmy robot that uses a snake-esque crawling transportation method to move across different terrain. Someday, this type of robot could explore hostile environments in far-flung planets — perhaps putting some jump-scares into alien life forms that share Indiana Jones’s concerns

A Helping Hand (and Arm)

Finally, here’s a remarkable story from Japan: covered in the Hindustan Times, Design Boom, and Mashable, a Japanese company has now created robotic AI arms humans can wear. Of note, at present, there are only six arms in this configuration — so there’s no chance for a real-life “Doctor Octopus” situation quite yet. Still, this is a remarkable achievement. What could you do with four extra limbs? How would this affect employment in fields like construction and retail or accessibility?  

Quick Hits

How about some “Quick Hits” from the month of May?

  • From the Daily Record, a story about Spot (the robotic dog) exploring a toxic waste area. 
  • Just as Johnny Appleseed intended: from, a story on robots helping with the annual Pacific Northwest apple harvest. 
  • Yanko Design has the story of a mobile EV charger that may help solve the pesky “can’t find a charging station anywhere” problem. 
  • Remove your head from the sand and check out this IEEE Spectrum story on an ostrich-inspired robot (RobOstrich). 
  • New Atlas has the story of the extremely leggy centipede robot from Georgia Tech.
  • Princeton used a “Large Language Model” (LLM) to help a bot improve its room-cleaning skills. 

News From the Community

Finally, let's look at one of the trending stories in the RobotShop community. Coming from the hipster central part of the United States (Brooklyn) is this Hackaday story about a coffee shop with a robotic server. How long do you think it will be before this type of service comes to your neighborhood? If this becomes commonplace, will you miss that element of human interaction in your morning routine? 

What's to Come?

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 "ad astra." This doesn't specifically relate to the Brad Pitt movie from a few years ago, but its title phrase — Latin for "to the stars" — seems to fit well with this month. For good reason, NASA is always at the front of the line with robotics innovation; this month, we see the institution working on perfecting remotely-piloted experimental aircraft and testing a snake-like object designed to explore the deepest reaches of space. It's worth admiring NASA's continued commitment to innovation and technology, especially for an organization that's over 60 years old. 

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

To stay up-to-date with trending news in the robotics field, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the community site!

Picture credit: Jizai Arms / JPL-Caltech / NASA / Reliable Robotics / BPM Media / Noah Thomas / Autev / University of Tokyo / Georgia Tech


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