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National Geographic

National Geographic reporter Maya Wei-Haas explores how the ancient art of origami is being applied to fields such a robotics, medicine and space exploration. Wei-Haas notes that Prof. Daniela Rus and her team developed a robot that can fold to fit inside a pill capsule, while Prof. Erik Demaine has designed complex, curving fold patterns. “You get these really impressive 3D forms with very simple creasing,” says Demaine.

Mashable

Prof. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, discusses the future of artificial intelligence, emphasizing the importance of balancing the development of new technologies with the need to ensure they are deployed in a way that benefits humanity. “We have to advance the science and engineering of autonomy and the science and engineering of intelligence to create the kinds of machines that will be friendly to people, that will be assistive and supportive for people and that will augment people with the tasks that they need help with,” Rus explains.

NBC

NBC 1st Look host Chelsea Cabarcas visits MIT to learn more about how faculty, researchers and students are “pioneering the world of tomorrow.” Cabarcas meets the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle team and gets a peek at Nimbus, the single-occupant vehicle that team members raced in the American Solar Challenge from Kansas City to New Mexico. Cabarcas also sees the back-flipping MIT mini cheetah that could one day be used in disaster-relief operations.

Fortune

MIT researchers have found that “automation is the primary reason the income gap between more and less educated workers has continued to widen,” reports Ellen McGirt for Fortune. “This single one variable…explains 50 to 70% of the changes or variation between group inequality from 1980 to about 2016,” says Prof. Daron Acemoglu

The Washington Post

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station completed an experiment to test a system developed by researchers from MIT’s Space Exploration Initiative that would allow astronauts to build parts in space, reports Pranshu Verma for The Washington Post. The new system could allow astronauts to build and modify space stations “quicker, cheaper and with less complexity,” explains Ariel Ekblaw, director and founder of the Space Exploration Initiative. “It starts to unlock more opportunities for exploration.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers developed a new system to build gravity-defying spare parts in space that is currently being tested aboard the International Space Station, reports Rahul Rao for Popular Science. “The MIT group’s process involves taking a flexible silicone skin, shaped like the part it will eventually create, and filling it with a liquid resin,” writes Rao. “These are going to be our first results for a really novel process in microgravity,” explains Ariel Ekblaw SM ’17, PhD ’20, director of the Space Exploration Initiative.

Forbes

Vecna Technologies and Vecna Robotics co-founder Daniel Theobald ’95, MS ’97 speaks with Forbes reporter Heather Wishart-Smith about the future of robotics. “I believe that robotics can be one of the great tools for solving the world’s problems,” says Theobald. “The environment, equality, food scarcity, even happiness in allowing us to focus on being more human than today’s humans working like machines and doing jobs that really should not be done by humans.”

National Geographic

A team of MIT students developed reconfigurable robots capable of exploring rough terrains on the moon as part of NASA's Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, reports Alejandra Borunda for National Geographic. The MIT students “figured that once astronauts were on the moon, they’d want to use various types of robots so they designed “‘Lego-like combinations that can be reconfigured,’” the team explained.

Politico

Prof. Daron Acemoglu speaks with Politico reporter Derek Robertson about his new study examining the impacts of automation on the workforce and economy. “This discussion gets framed around ‘Will robots and AI destroy jobs, and lead to a jobless future,’ and I think that's the wrong framing,” says Acemoglu. “Industrial robots may have reduced U.S. employment by half a percent, which is not trivial, but nothing on that scale [of a “jobless future”] has happened — but if you look at the inequality implications, it's been massive.”

BBC

Prof. Neil Gershenfeld and graduate student Amira Abdel-Rahma speak with BBC Digital Planet reporters Gareth Mitchell and Ghislaine Boddington about their research developing tiny robots that can assemble themselves into structures, vehicles or even larger robots. “The main objective of this research is the robot can have a few choices,” says Abdel-Rahma. “First it can build the structure, the second choice is it could self-replicate or clone… the third, it could evolve and build a bigger robot.”

Fox News

Paul Best reports for Fox Business on how MIT researchers are developing tiny robots with built-in intelligence that can allow them to assemble into structures, vehicles or even larger robots.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights a new study by Prof. Daron Acemoglu that examines the impact of automation on the workforce. “We’re starting with a very clear premise here: in 21st-century America, the wealth gap is big and only getting bigger,” writes Heater. “The paper, ‘Tasks, Automation, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,’ attempts to explore the correlation between the growing income gap and automation.”

Popular Science

Researchers from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms are developing fully autonomous robots that can work together to assemble “almost any conceivable structure or product, including bigger iterations of themselves as their projects scale larger,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. “Potential uses include building structures to aid in protection against sea level rise and coastal erosion,” writes Paul, “as well as 3D printed houses and space habitat construction.”

TechCrunch

Researchers from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms are developing robots that can effectively self-assemble and could even build large structures, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “At the system’s center are voxels (a term borrowed from computer graphics), which carry power and data that can be shared between pieces,” writes Heater. “The pieces form the foundation of the robot, grabbing and attaching additional voxels before moving across the grid for further assembly.”

Scientific American

MIT scientists have developed a miniature antenna that could one day be used to help safely transmit data from within living cells “by resonating with acoustic rather than electromagnetic waves,” reports Andrew Chapman for Scientific American. “A functioning antenna could help scientists power, and communicate with, tiny roving sensors within the cell,” writes Chapman, “helping them better understand these building blocks and perhaps leading to new medical treatments.”