Drones that avoid and withstand hefty collisions are in development

Two teams of engineers have taken separate approaches to enable drones to carry out research or rescue operations with a reduced risk of crashing Technology 9 March 2022 By Alex Wilkins The RMF-Owl is designed to be collision-tolerant for subterranean exploration De Petris et al. Prototype drones capable of navigating dangerous and unpredictable environments without … Read more

Automated chemistry: The machines that can discover new drugs

Making new molecules to treat disease has relied upon the painstaking art of synthetic chemistry, but now we’re developing robots that could do it all for us Technology 2 March 2022 By Katharine Sanderson Graham Carter Perhaps the most storied aspect of modern chemistry is total synthesis. This is the craft of taking simple molecules … Read more

News at a glance: African vaccine factories, centipede-inspired robots, and Antarctic pollution | Science

COVID-19 Africa builds mRNA vaccine capacity The drive to help African countries produce vaccines with messenger RNA (mRNA) technology got big boosts last week from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the company BioNTech. The success of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines made by the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration and Moderna led to intense global demand, but African countries … Read more

Centipedes, the ‘envy of engineers,’ inspire a new generation of robots | Science

One of the creepiest encounters I’ve ever had came 25 years ago, when I moved into my first house. Turning on the bathroom light early one morning, a gigantic centipede—with its blur of legs—ran up and over my foot without breaking stride. Now, even the sight of one sends shivers up my spine. Not so … Read more

Meet the robots that can reproduce, learn and evolve all by themselves

By Emma Hart Ruby Fresson ROBOTS have come a long way in the century since Czech writer Karel Čapek used the word to describe artificial automata. Once largely confined to factories, they are now found everywhere from the military and medicine to education and underground rescue. People have created robots that can make art, plant … Read more

Robots help some sick children ‘attend’ school. Kids are working with scientists to make them better | Science

A version of this story appeared in Science, Vol 375, Issue 6581. In a sunny room at the Boys & Girls Club in Calistoga, a tiny city in California’s Napa Valley, Veronica Ahumada is setting up her robot when a bespectacled little boy wanders in to ask what she’s doing. Ahumada points to the device—basically … Read more

A driverless car that went rogue could be a taste of the robo uprising

The recent case of a driverless car that tried to escape its handlers might make us laugh, but it also warns us about what could happen when AI is given a “body”, writes Annalee Newitz Technology | Columnist 2 February 2022 By Annalee Newitz MicroOne/Shutterstock DRIVING in San Francisco is like watching a robot uprising … Read more

Chemistry robots: Labs can benefit by letting humans and machines collaborate

A new system helps labs determine the most efficient way to produce target molecules by utilising the strengths of humans and robots Technology 24 January 2022 By Matthew Sparkes Scientists working with a robot in a lab Shutterstock/Party people studio Chemists have devised a new system to help robots and humans collaborate more efficiently in … Read more

Robots: Mechanical fish scares invasive species so badly it cannot breed

Eastern mosquitofish, a problem invasive species, can be prevented from reproducing using a robot fish that they find scary Technology 16 December 2021 By Matthew Sparkes A robotic fish (top) that mimics the natural predator of mosquitofish (bottom right) Giovanni Polverino Robotic fish might help solve an ecological problem by scaring an invasive fish species … Read more

Want to Get Humans to Trust Robots? Let Them Dance

A dancer shrouded in shades of blue rises to her feet and steps forward on stage. Under a spotlight, she gazes at her partner: a tall, sleek robotic arm. As they dance together, the machine’s fluid movements make it seem less stereotypically robotic—and, researchers hope, more trustworthy. “When a human moves one joint, it isn’t … Read more