‘Carpentry Compiler’ turns 3D models to instructions on how to build them

Even to an experienced carpenter, it may not be obvious what the best way is to build a structure they’ve designed. A new digital tool, Carpentry Compiler, provides a way forward, converting the shapes of the structure to a step-by-step guide on how to produce them. It could help your next carpentry project get off […]

This robot scientist has conducted 100,000 experiments in a year

Science is exciting in theory, but it can also be dreadfully dull. Some experiments require hundreds or thousands of repetitions or trials — an excellent opportunity to automate. That’s just what MIT scientists have done, creating a robot that performs a certain experiment, observes the results, and plans a follow-up… and has now done so […]

NASA’s space pallet concept could land rovers on the moon cheaply and simply

Establishing an enduring presence on the Moon will mean making a lot of landings — and NASA researchers want to make those landings as reliable and cheap as possible. This robotic “pallet lander” concept would be a dead simple (as lunar landers go) way to put up to 300 kilograms of rover and payload onto […]

Here’s the first look inside Orbex’s Scotland rocket factory

European private launch startup Orbex is getting ready to start actually launching payloads aboard its own rockets, and it’s pulling back the curtains to give a look at the factory it’s using to build its launch vehicles. The UK-based company is building its rockets from a facility in Scotland, and this virtual tour gives an […]

Facebook machine learning aims to modify faces, hands and… outfits

The latest research out of Facebook sets machine learning models to tasks that, to us, seem rather ordinary — but for a computer are still monstrously difficult. These projects aim to anonymize faces, improvise hand movements and — perhaps hardest of all — give credible fashion advice. The research here was presented recently at the […]

This robotic arm slows down to avoid the uncanny valley

Robotic arms can move fast enough to snatch thrown objects right out of the air… but should they? Not unless you want them to unnerve the humans they’re interacting with, according to work out of Disney Research. Roboticists there found that slowing a robot’s reaction time made it feel more normal to people. Disney has, […]

This robot relies on human reflexes to keep its balance

As much as we’d like to think that we’re entering an era of autonomous robots, they’re actually still pretty helpless. To keep them from falling down all the time, a human’s fast reflexes could be the solution. But the human has to feel what the robot is feeling — and that’s just what these researchers […]

Will the quantum economy change your business?

Google and NASA have demonstrated that quantum computing isn’t just a fancy trick, but almost certainly something actually useful — and they’re already working on commercial applications. What does that mean for existing startups and businesses? Simply put: nothing. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore it forever. There are three main points that anyone […]

Spider eyes inspire a new kind of depth-sensing camera

As robots and gadgets continue to pervade our everyday lives, they increasingly need to see in 3D — but as evidenced by the notch in your iPhone, depth-sensing cameras are still pretty bulky. A new approach inspired by how some spiders sense the distance to their prey could change that. Jumping spiders don’t have room […]

Quantum computing’s ‘Hello World’ moment

Does quantum computing really exist? It’s fitting that for decades this field has been haunted by the fundamental uncertainty of whether it would, eventually, prove to be a wild goose chase. But Google has collapsed this nagging superposition with research not just demonstrating what’s called “quantum supremacy,” but more importantly showing that this also is […]