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What’s New in Robotic Technology: 5 Innovations to Help Humans Work Smarter

Earlier this month we wrote about how Beams are bringing us all together. They are also helping us all work smarter – and there’s a lot happening in the world of robotics!

To quote the author of this piece about Veo Robotics, people and robots working together can accomplish far more than either one on its own. We love that sentiment! Veo is working to give robots spacial awareness so that they can work more efficiently with people – kind of like the way a Beam navigates so smoothly without “tripping” or bumping into objects it encounters.

In an example of the way that robotics technology spills over into other fields, Chinese robot maker Dobot used the same technology they created for robot arms to build a super-steady three-axis gimbal that moves along with the user, even when the user is moving quickly. (For example, on a bike or a skateboard.) The company is also working on industrial robot arms.

Georgia Tech built an aerial robot (named Tarzan!) that can swing above fields to check on the health needs of growing crops. Tarzan can detect problems and course-correct with pesticides or fertilizer. The design of the unit – moving around in the air instead of on the ground – solves the problem of navigating muddy fields and also means that the agricultural caretaker won’t run over the very plants it’s trying to protect.

How about a snake robot? Kongsberg Maritime created a slithery version of Tarzan that tends to the structures on the sea bed instead of farms. The remotely-operated helper can move around in small places, inspect and even perform routine fixes.

Five Montana Tech students had roughly the same idea, but wanted to put their robot to use on other planets. They’re participating in the 2017 NASA Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center later this month. The idea is to create a robot that requires as little attention from the team on Earth as possible. Teams get more points for higher levels of automation.

We can’t wait to see what’s next…