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10 most memorable robotics tales of 2022


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The robotics business had its justifiable share of memorable moments in 2022. Right here we have a look again at our picks for essentially the most memorable robotics tales of the yr.

The checklist is comprised of moments that made us snigger and cringe, in addition to moments that left us stunned or amazed on the capabilities of assorted robots. What did we miss? Please tell us within the feedback what you’ll keep in mind most from 2022.

Subscribe to The Robotic Report Publication to remain up to date on the robotics tales you must find out about.


First audio of Martian mud satan

In response to NASA, practically each Mars rover has skilled mud devils. However the Perseverance rover is the primary to seize audio of 1. In December 2022, NASA launched the audio, including that it may assist scientists higher perceive how mud may have an effect on future Mars missions.

NASA stated capturing a passing mud satan takes some luck, including that this first-of-its-kind recording was round a 1-in-200 shot. Scientists can’t predict once they’ll move by, so rovers like Perseverance routinely monitor in all instructions for them.


Spiderman robotic crashes at Disneyland

On June 9, 2022, the Spider-Man robotic at Disneyland momentarily misplaced its Spidey-Sense. The Spider-Man robotic failed in mid-air and crashed into the W.E.B. facility that’s a part of the stunt setup. And it was all caught on video.

“Right here goes one thing,” narrated the attraction’s soundtrack as Spidey took flight. In response to Disney, the robotic makes its personal, real-time choices when to tuck, somersault and decelerate whereas hovering 85 toes within the air. However midway via, the robotic’s limbs locked up, rendering it a mere projectile. It crashed proper into W.E.B. constructing. No person was harm through the crash, and the attraction was up and operating once more a number of hours later.


Tesla uveils working humanoid prototype

Elon Musk unveiled at Tesla AI Day the corporate’s much-anticipated Optimus humanoid robotic. Final yr, after all, the “robotic” was merely a human wearing a robotic swimsuit. This time, Tesla, albeit briefly, really demoed a working prototype that walked, waved, and danced on stage. Tesla additionally performed movies that showcased the Optimus prototype doing completely different duties, similar to choosing up packing containers in a warehouse and watering a plant in an workplace.

Musk unabashedly claimed Tesla will have the ability to leapfrog different humanoid builders, similar to Agility Robotics and Boston Dynamics, partially as a result of Optimus makes use of the identical neural networks as Tesla’s Autopilot expertise. The robotics business watched Tesla AI Day in earnest to see precisely what Optimus could be this time round. Many specialists agreed the expertise inside Optimus lags behind the competitors, however they had been impressed with how shortly Optimus was constructed.

Driving in a Waymo round SF

I’ve been lucky sufficient to journey in a number of robotaxis through the years, however none had been higher than my journey with Waymo round San Francisco in October. It was a roughly 9-mile journey that took slightly below half-hour. As a result of I’m not a Waymo worker, there was a human security driver behind the wheel.

The route we took had a myriad of obstacles, together with a number of unprotected left turns, pedestrians crossing streets and sidewalks, bicyclists, slender streets, double-parked Amazon supply vehicles and development autos reducing us off. As you’d hope, the journey was flawless and uneventful. Really, it was fairly boring.


First science photos from James Webb

james webb space telescope image

NASA launched the primary science picture from the James Webb House Telescope in July 2022 throughout a press convention with President Joe Biden. The picture was of SMACS J0723.3-7327. What you see within the picture is an space of house that features the faintest objects ever noticed within the infrared.

This slice of the huge universe covers a patch of sky roughly the dimensions of a grain of sand held at arm’s size by somebody on the bottom. The sunshine on this area goes again 13+ billion years.


Cruise robotaxi interacts with SF police

In April 2022, a video surfaced of an attention-grabbing interplay between a Cruise robotaxi and San Francisco cops. The Cruise robotaxi is stopped at a purple mild, with a police automotive behind it. As the sunshine turns inexperienced, a member of the SF police officer will get out of his automotive and approaches the robotaxi, apparently as a result of the car’s headlights weren’t on. The police officer tries to open the motive force’s facet door, however it’s locked. As he heads again to his police automotive, the Cruise robotaxi drives off earlier than shortly pulling over and flashing its hazard lights lower than 10 seconds later.

The web went loopy with every kind of jokes about police chases, however Cruise stated issues went in response to plan.

“Our AV yielded to the police car, then pulled over to the closest secure location for the visitors cease, as supposed. An officer contacted Cruise personnel and no quotation was issued,” Cruise tweeted. “We work carefully with the SFPD on tips on how to work together with our autos, together with a devoted telephone quantity for them to name in conditions like this.”

Chess-playing robotic breaks 7-year-old’s finger

A seven-year-old boy’s finger was damaged by a chess-playing robotic throughout a match in Russia again in July 2022. The video reveals the robotic enjoying on three chessboards concurrently. The boy makes a transfer when the robotic arm lowers onto his hand. 4 males rush in to assist, the boy’s finger is freed, and he’s taken away.

The story captured the world’s consideration, and match officers at one level blamed the kid for making a transfer the robotic didn’t perceive.

We mentioned this incident at size on The Robotic Report Podcast with Nima Fazelli, an assistant professor of robotics on the College of Michigan. Fazelli created a well-known Jenga-playing robotic throughout his days at MIT. He mentioned the dearth of primary security protocols with the chess-playing robotic, the poor selection of utilizing an industrial robotic, the system’s lack of intelligence and far more.

Turning lifeless spiders into robotic grippers

Simply once you assume you’ve seen all of it, alongside comes an thought to make use of lifeless spiders as robotic grippers. Engineers at Rice College launched the world to the idea of “necrobotics” explaining why turning lifeless wolf spiders into mechanical grippers.

In response to the researchers, in contrast to folks and different mammals that transfer their limbs by synchronizing opposing muscle tissues, spiders use hydraulics. A chamber close to their heads contracts to ship blood to limbs, forcing them to increase. When the strain is relieved, the legs contract. Inner valves within the spiders’ hydraulic chamber, or prosoma, permit them to manage every leg individually.

The researchers ran one lifeless spider via 1,000 open-close cycles to see how properly its limbs held up, and located it to be pretty strong.

Name me close-minded, however I don’t see necrobotics going mainstream.


SF votes in favor of police utilizing robots with deadly drive

In late November 2022, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to permit the San Francisco Police Division to make use of remote-controlled and probably deadly robots in emergency conditions. The board voted 8-3 in favor of giving police the choice to deploy robots as a final resort in emergency conditions.

This made lots of people inside and out of doors the robotics business fairly offended. And only a week later the choice was unanimously reversed. The proposal would have allowed officers to make use of robots to kill a suspect “when threat of lack of life to members of the general public or officers is imminent and officers can’t subdue the risk after utilizing various drive choices or de-escalation techniques.”

Digit helps human coworkers unload trailers

Whereas Tesla’s humanoid prototype may do little greater than stroll and wave, Agility Robotics confirmed us that bipedal robots working alongside people may not be as far off as we predict. In April 2022, Agility Robotics gave us a take a look at the capabilities of its bipedal robotic Digit, which introduced in $150 million in funding that month. The video reveals Digit dealing with packages and bins, loading them onto vehicles, choosing them up from shelving and even taking totes from human employees. 

Digit has a max pace of 1.5 m/s and might run for 3 hours doing mild work. Doing heavy work, the robotic will final 1.5 hours. Whereas proper now Digit can solely be used to maneuver totes and packages and unload trailers, the corporate hopes to develop its capabilities to last-mile deliveries quickly. 

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