Trending News in the Robotics Field for September 2023

What's happening in the robotics field for September 2023? Welcome to the 41st 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 September. Let's see what caught our attention this month with the trending news in robotics for September 2023.

A Day at the Drone Races

Watch out, human drone racers — robots are coming for actual control of the drones, too. For the first time, AI-powered drones bested their human-controlled counterparts when it came to drone racing. Check out the recap and exploration of this rather incredible competition on IEEE Spectrum, YouTube, and Ars Technia. The technology is pretty stunning; however, it’s fair to wonder what (if any) appeal this might have to a wider viewing audience. Would you tune in to one of these drone races if they appeared on ESPN? Are we that far away from SportsCenter including them at the top of its sport package? 

Under the Sea

Devices to explore new worlds — from satellites to land rovers — have been well chronicled in the past. However, per articles in Interesting Engineering, New Atlas, and Industry Tap, a brand-new robotic creation will one day explore the murky depths of waters across the universe. The “AUV” Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (in progress at the University of Bremen) could one day study the wondrous worlds under the water in different planets and moons — the article specifically notes the moons of Jupiter and Saturn as two prime locations. What kinds of remarkable things could these mini-subs discover? 

DRUM-ming up a New Frontier

How about some big news in the DRUM world? Well, this time, the news doesn’t have anything to do with music. Instead, we’re looking at a breakthrough in the world of high-speed camera technology. Covered in Interesting Engineering, New Atlas, and, new types of high-speed cameras called DRUM cameras (standing for diffraction-gated real-time ultrahigh-speed mapping) will revolutionize the market — finally making ultrafast imaging available at a reasonable price. The technology should eventually make those $100,000-plus cameras obsolete; up until the advent of this tech, those expensive devices were the only way to capture high-speed images. Read on to learn more about the technology and wonder how long it will be until these innovations end up in the palm of our hand.

Quick Hits

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

  • From New Atlas, here are some “bionic silkworms” spinning super-tough fibers.
  • This robot “walks” by blowing itself up. Literally. Check it out on IEEE Spectrum
  • Check out the Apollo Tote robot picking up boxes on this YouTube video.
  • Take a look at this giant Pacific Rim-esque robot in this Japanese YouTube video

News From the Community

Finally, let’s take a look at one of the trending stories in the RobotShop community. We all very much enjoy the burrito bowls at Chipotle, correct? Well, robots are coming to help you enjoy every last bite of that guacamole-y, cheesy goodness. Take a look at this article from Insider, detailing the company’s partnership with a startup named Hypen that empowers robots to create burrito bowls at a 180/hour pace. How have you seen automation impact your favorite restaurants / fast food locations? Are you entirely comfortable seeing your favorite comfort food made by a robot — and not a human?

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 "competition.” As the weather turns cooler, the sports season heats up; baseball playoffs, the start of football, hockey and basketball right around the corner. Once again, we see robotics touching the field of organized sport competition — this time, in the form of robotic drone racing, with AI-powered robots besting human-controlled ones. Is this something you’d watch? Are you prepared for a weekend of watching robot-controlled and played sports on television — or is the human spirit and aspect of competition too integral to the process? It’s something to think about as the robotics advancement in sports continues to grow. 

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 September? 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, Tik Tok and Threads or on the community site.

PICTURE CREDIT : LEONARD BAUERSFELD/ MARUM/ Xianglei Liu, Jinyang Liang and Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)/ Junpeng Mi/ CAMERON AUBIN/ Apptronik

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