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Reuters

Reuters reporter Timothy Aeppel spotlights a new report by MIT researchers examining how automation is spreading to small and medium-sized factories in America. “Among the 34 companies with 500 employees or fewer in Ohio, Massachusetts and Arizona that the MIT researchers visited in their project, only one had bought robots in large numbers in the last five years,” writes Aeppel, “and that was an Ohio company that had been acquired by a Japanese multinational which pumped in money for the new automation.”

Forbes

Forbes reporters Amy Feldman and Aayushi Pratap spotlight Vicarious Surgical, a startup founded by MIT graduates that is developing a tiny robot paired with a VR headset for abdominal surgeries.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporters Angus Loten and Kevin Hand spotlight how MIT researchers are developing robots with humanlike senses that will be able to assist with a range of tasks. GelSight, a technology developed by CSAIL researchers, outfits robot arms with a small gel pad that can be pressed into objects to sense their size and texture, while another team of researchers is “working to bridge the gap between touch and sight by training an AI system to predict what a seen object feels like and what a felt object looks like.”

The Wall Street Journal

MIT researchers have developed a new robot that can help locate hidden items using AI and wireless technologies, reports Benoit Morenne for The Wall Street Journal. “The latest version of the robot has a 96% success rate at finding and picking up objects in a lab setting, including clothes and household items,” writes Morenne. “In the future, this home helper could also retrieve a specific wrench or screwdriver from a toolbox and assist a human in assembling a piece of furniture.”

Science Friday

Kate Darling, a research specialist at the Media Lab, speaks with Ira Flatow on Science Friday about “the historical lessons of our relationships with animals, and how they could inform our legal, ethical, and even emotional choices about robots and AI.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey spotlights MIT startup ISEE, which is developing a robotic yard truck that could be used to move containers in shipping yards. Coldewey writes that the ISEE trucks could “transport containers (unmodified, it is important to note) to and from locations in the yards, backing the 50-foot trailer into a parking spot with as little as a foot of space on either side.”

Mashable

MIT researchers have developed a new robot with a tactile sensing finger that can find objects buried in sand or rice, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “The robot could eventually perform other underground duties like identifying buried cables or disarming bombs or land mines.”

Associated Press

An electric, autonomous boat developed by MIT researchers is being tested in the canals of Amsterdam as part of an effort to ease traffic, reports Aleksandar Furtula and Mike Corder for the AP. The Roboat project is aimed at developing “new ways of navigating the world’s waterways without a human hand at the wheel,” write Furtula and Corder. “The vessels are modular so they can be easily adapted for different purposes, carrying cargo or workers.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater writes that MIT researchers have developed a new robotic finger, dubbed the Digger Finger, that can sense and identify objects underground. “It’s a useful skill that could someday be deployed for landmines, finding underground cables and a variety of other tasks.”

Mashable

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have developed a hair-brushing robot, reports Mashable. “Thanks to a robotic arm and a sensorized brush plus computer vision for analyzing the curliness of hair, the robot’s brushing method is meant to minimize pain.”

Corriere della Sera

Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a robotic dog outfitted with a tablet that allows doctors to visit with emergency room patients remotely. “The robot could therefore avoid the risk of exposure to Covid-19 by healthcare professionals and help save the personal protective equipment necessary for each visit,” writes Ruggiero Corcella of Corriere della Sera.

New Scientist

In an article for New Scientist, Vijaysree Venkatraman reviews a new book by Kate Darling of the Media Lab, which explores whether we should think of robots as more like animals than humans. “Unlike animals, robots are designed, peddled and controlled by people, Darling reminds us. Her timely book urges us to focus on the legal, ethical and social issues regarding consumer robotics to make sure the robotic future works well for all of us,” writes Venkatraman.

 

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new robot, dubbed RF Grasp, that can sense hidden objects using radio waves, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “The tech allows RF Grasp to pick up things that are covered up or otherwise out of its line of vision,” writes Heater.

Mashable

CSAIL researchers have developed a new material with embedded sensors that can track a person’s movement, reports Mashable. The clothing could “track things like posture or give feedback on how you’re walking.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran spotlights how CSAIL researchers have crafted a new smart fabric embedded with sensors that can sense pressure from the person wearing it. “Sensors in this new material can be used to gather data about people’s posture and body movements,” writes Segran. “This could be useful in a variety of settings, including athletic training, monitoring the health of elderly patients, and identifying whether someone has fallen over.”