Boston Dynamics puts its robotic quadruped Spot up for sale

Since the days of BigDog, the quadrupedal robots of Boston Dynamics have impressed and repelled us. But while the early, bulky robots never felt like something we’d see in real life, the company’s latest and greatest creation, Spot, is not only quite real, but now for sale — in fact, some people have had them […]

Take cover, it’s a drone with a nail gun!

The FAA has warned against equipping your drone with weapons such as flamethrowers and handguns. But can a nail gun really be considered a weapon — that is, outside of Quake? Let’s hope not, because roboticists at the University of Michigan have made a roofing drone that uses that tool to autonomously nail shingles into […]

FarmWise and its weed-pulling agribot harvest $14.5M in funding

Automating agriculture is a complex proposition given the number and variety of tasks involved, but a number of robotics and autonomy companies are giving it their best shot. FarmWise seems to have impressed someone — it just raised $14.5 million to continue development of its autonomous weeding vehicle. Currently in the prototype stage, these vehicles […]

This prosthetic arm combines manual control with machine learning

Prosthetic limbs are getting better every year, but the strength and precision they gain doesn’t always translate to easier or more effective use, as amputees have only a basic level of control over them. One promising avenue being investigated by Swiss researchers is having an AI take over where manual control leaves off. To visualize […]

UK police arrest a number of climate activists planning Heathrow drone protest

U.K. police have arrested a number of environmental activists affiliated with a group which announced  last month that it would use drones to try to ground flights at the country’s busiest airport. The group, which calls itself Heathrow Pause, is protesting against the government decision to green-light a third runway at the airport. In a […]

Bear Robotics is raising big bucks for robots that deliver food to restaurant patrons

Some days, it feels like there’s almost no end to the number of jobs that might be replaced altogether or in some part by smart machines, from radiologists to truck drivers to, gulp, journalists. You might be tempted to sob about it to your friendly restaurant server, but wait! It’s a robot, too! So it […]

Former Google X exec Mo Gawdat wants to reinvent consumerism

Mo Gawdat, the former Google and Google X executive, is probably best known for his book Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy. He left Google X last year. Quite a bit has been written about the events that led to him leaving Google, including the tragic death of his son. While happiness is […]

Climate activists plan to use drones to shut down Heathrow Airport next month

A UK group of climate activists is planning to fly drones close to Heathrow Airport next month in a direct action they hope will shut down the country’s largest airport for days or even longer. The planned action is in protest at the government’s decision to green-light a third runway at Heathrow. They plan to […]

Softly, softly, catchy jelly: This ‘ultragentle’ robotic gripper collects fragile marine life

The creatures of the depths live in a very different world — one lethal to us. But our world is lethal to them as well, all sharp edges and rapid movements. If we’re to catch and learn about the soft-bodied denizens of the deep, our machines too must be soft — and that’s what this […]

Orbion raises $9.2M to mass-produce plasma thrusters for small satellites

Michigan-based startup Orbion has secured $9.2 million in Series A funding, which it will use as it undertakes the mass-produced manufacturing of its plasma thrusters for use in small satellites. Orbion’s thrusters are Hall-effect thrusters, which use an electric field to accelerate their propellant and create thrust. Hall-effect thrusters are nothing new, but Orbion’s approach, […]