Yes, you read it right, “Robots are taking over the world.” Robots are indeed striving in almost all the fields, from Digging Tunnels to exploring space.
According to Oxford Economics, there will be 14 million robots in China by 2030 and 20 million worldwide. In the United States, Robots will modify or replace nearly 1.5 million job positions. Labor shortage amidst the pandemic has forced factories and Warehouses to partner with Robotic companies to optimize human-robot collaboration.
Despite Industrial Robots, AgroBots are also making remarkable achievements in agriculture, and Surgical Robots are revolutionizing healthcare.
We are on the edge of an AI takeover. Companies are building more real-life robots that mimic human and animal characteristics and evolve like other creatures on this planet.
Here are five recent research that is advancing robotics more than ever:
1. Robots are walking like humans
Recreating an artificial being that can walk like animals and humans would be absolutely fascinating. Recently, researchers have used adaptive learning techniques to train robots to walk and even run like humans and respond to fall like a living being.
The Legged Robot
A team of engineers and researchers from UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, and Facebook AI is training legged robots to walk like humans in different terrains. The robot uses Rapid Motor Adaptation (RMA) technology to adjust itself during a fall and gets back to position on every slip, just like humans. It uses data from sensors and accelerometers to reads the surroundings and avoids bumping or crashing into obstacles.
The creators believe that the improvements in RMA will be a viable new strategy to solve the eternal dilemma of the locomotive robot.
Cassie, the Bipedal Robot
Cassie is the first bipedal robot that is capable of running long distances on a single charge. The robot is developed at the Oregon State University, where experts combined the concept of robotic control, machine learning, and biomechanics to achieve a robot that can walk, climb stairs, and race, even on unfriendly terrains. It uses a reinforcement learning algorithm to learn how to sprint.
Cassie caught much media attention after running a 5K on a single charge in only 53 minutes. Developers believe that Cassie can be employed in the logistics industry for delivery and warehouse assistance in massive retail companies like Amazon to meet the global demand for products/services.
2. Robots are getting ready for space
The space race is getting hugely popular these days, with billionaires like Richard Barson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk competing to explore space travel. However, stabilizing at lower gravity conditions, dealing with celestial matters, and surviving hazardous environments are still challenging to humans.
Researchers think that robots will be a life savior for space studies and are training them for research and even building space colonies without humans traveling. Let’s take a glance at the two remarkable robots that are ready to explore space.
The SpaceBok, developed by ETH Zurich, is a quadruped robot trained to walk in space using nature’s tactics. The developers’ main aim is to test the feasibility of SpaceBok for dynamic locomotion in low gravity.
The legged robot’s lightweight feature and flexibility like a cat make it ideal for smooth space exploration as it can move more effectively than wheel robots.
Another spectacular robot is the Autonomous Spot (Au-Spot) which is all set to join the Mars exploration project by NASA. Designed and developed by Boston Dynamics, the Spot Robot is getting trained to find the possibility of life on Mars or other planets.
Au-Spot can walk, jump, crawl, and can travel at much higher speeds than a rover. It has the tracking ability for anonymous travel in martian locations and can share images and location information and even collect samples using an attached robotic arm.
3. Robots are digging tunnels
Digging tunnels could be challenging without risking human lives. You may have heard about construction machines that can do the digging, but here is an exceptional robot that can dig tunnels and manage supply through them.
The Earthworm Robot, developed by the GE Research Robotics team as a part of the Underminer program, exhibits the construction of tactical tunnel networks quickly, allowing a safe and responsive resupply.
This robot has proved itself by efficiently digging a tunnel in Niskayuna, New York, in one and a half years. Researchers plan to use these robots to dig tactical tunnels to pre-position supplies and provide resupply during a contingency operation.
4. Robotic arms for home automation
Would you not feel relaxing while the robots do your household chores? Multiple robotics companies are developing robots that do mundane household works to make our lives comfortable.
Robotic arm to fix IKEA furniture
The researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in California have developed a robotic arm to assemble IKEA furniture. With an innovative algorithm and artificial intelligence, the robotic arm studies the behavior of humans and predicts how humans will construct the pieces of furniture together.
Moreover, the robotic arm assists humans by bringing essential equipment like screws, shelves, and furniture pieces. Such technology can be applied to aid disabled people with difficult daily chores like robotic food preparations.
Robotic arm to get you dressed
In the experiment at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the robotic arm assisted a human wearing a coat, which could prove handy in the future. With its unique algorithm, the robot dresses a person, responds to any changes in the individual’s position, hand movement, or direction by selecting an appropriate model for the situation.
The MIT’s Robotic arm could prove to be a beneficial tool for dressing up individuals who have disabilities or restricted mobility.
Robotic arm to cut veggies
A DiSECt Robot Simulator is learning to cut fruits and vegetables with precision using its algorithms. Developed by a team of researchers from NVIDIA and the University of Southern California, the simulator is tested on a robotic arm.
The robot arm uses the differentiated cutting simulation, identifies the object’s shape, and then cuts without errors. For a robot to learn what pressure to apply based on object densities is excellent, as it can cut fruits and vegetables just like humans.
5. Soft Robots are playing games and music
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are advancing so much into the gaming and music industry. The robots are already competing to win video games and play harmonious lullabies on the piano.
Soft Robot Hand plays Super Mario
The Super Mario Bros. is the fourth most popular game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. A fully 3D-printed Soft Robot Hand with integrated fluidic circuits, developed by the University of Maryland researchers, can level up the Super Mario Bros. game within 90 seconds.
Currently, researchers are working towards utilizing this technology in the biomedical field, including surgical tools, rehabilitation devices, and customizable prosthetics.
Soft Robot plays music
An air-powered computer memory developed at the University of California has eliminated one of the significant hurdles between pneumatics and electronics. The demonstration was a breakthrough in Soft Robotics.
Engineers have assembled a soft robot that plays the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano with the help of pneumatic logic. This technology is highly safe and can be employed in other robots which move in and around humans.
Will the robots take over?
Robots will continue to become smarter, more adaptable, and energy-efficient soon. They’ll continue to focus on challenging problems and assist humans in mundane and life-threatening jobs.
There will be robots everywhere, from the deepest parts of the ocean to the furthest reaches of space, exercising tasks that kill social liveliness.
It is only a beginning. According to experts, Robots will consume volumes of data and use Machine Learning and artificial intelligence to learn and adapt every human possibility until they are fully autonomous.