Development of a curious robot to study coral reef ecosystems awarded $1.5 million by the National Science Foundation

A grant by the National Science Foundation to researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Syracuse University aims to open new avenues of robotic study of coral reefs by developing autonomous underwater vehicles capable of navigating complex environments and of collecting data over long periods of time. The team led by WHOI computer scientist Yogesh Girdhar aims to build a robot capable of navigating a reef ecosystem and measuring the biomass, biodiversity, and behavior of organisms living in or passing through a reef over extended periods of time.

Data Scientist Discusses Job Outlook in Era of Artificial Intelligence

Recent worker shortages and higher labor costs have resulted in more automated jobs, including service and professional jobs economists once considered safe. Predictions are mixed on job losses going forward, although the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in a 2020 report that “a new generation of smart machines, fueled by rapid advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, could potentially replace a large proportion of existing human jobs.”

Joaquin Carbonara, Buffalo State College professor of mathematics, weighed in on AI’s effect on the job market now and in the future.

The Robot Smiled Back

Long interested in interactions between robots and humans, Columbia Engineering researchers have created EVA, a new autonomous robot with a soft and expressive face that responds to match the expressions of nearby humans. “The idea for EVA took shape a few years ago, when my students and I began to notice that the robots in our lab were staring back at us through plastic, googly eyes,” said Prof Hod Lipson, who led the team.

Robot Displays a Glimmer of Empathy to a Partner Robot

Like a longtime couple who can predict each other’s every move, a Columbia Engineering robot has learned to predict its partner robot’s future actions and goals based on just a few initial video frames. The study, conducted at Columbia Engineering’s Creative Machines Lab led by Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson, is part of a broader effort to endow robots with the ability to understand and anticipate the goals of other robots, purely from visual observations.

On the way to lifelike robots

In order for robots to be able to achieve more than simple automated machines in the future, they must not only have their own “brain”. Empa researchers postulate that artificial intelligence must be expanded to include the capabilities of a Physical Artificial Intelligence, PAI. This will redefine the field of robotics and the relationship between man and machine.

Quantum Materials Quest Could Benefit From Graphene That Buckles

Graphene, an extremely thin two-dimensional layer of the graphite used in pencils, buckles when cooled while attached to a flat surface, resulting in beautiful pucker patterns that could benefit the search for novel quantum materials and superconductors, according to Rutgers-led research in the journal Nature. Quantum materials host strongly interacting electrons with special properties, such as entangled trajectories, that could provide building blocks for super-fast quantum computers. They also can become superconductors that could slash energy consumption by making power transmission and electronic devices more efficient.

Welcome, Robin the AI robot

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital launched an innovative project to support the emotional needs of children through a new AI powered robot. Robin’s technology enables the robot to build what is called associative memory — it recognizes a child’s emotions by interpreting his or her facial expressions and builds responsive dialogue by replicating patterns formed from previous experiences.

These flexible feet help robots walk faster

Roboticists at the University of California San Diego have developed flexible feet that can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips. The work has applications for search-and-rescue missions as well as space exploration.

Rat Spinal Cords Control Neural Function in Biobots

Biological robots draw inspiration from natural systems to mimic the motions of organisms, such as swimming or jumping. Improvements to biobots to better replicate complex motor behaviors can lead to exciting biorobotic engineering applications to help solve real world challenges. However, this requires the creation of biohybrid, which is a challenge. Researchers combined an intact rat spinal cord with a tissue-engineered, 3D muscle system. They describe the novel biohybrid system in the journal APL Bioengineering.

A Great New Way to Paint 3D-Printed Objects

Rutgers engineers have created a highly effective way to paint complex 3D-printed objects, such as lightweight frames for aircraft and biomedical stents, that could save manufacturers time and money and provide new opportunities to create “smart skins” for printed parts. The findings are published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Scientists Find Far Higher than Expected Rate of Underwater Glacial Melting

Tidewater glaciers, the massive rivers of ice that end in the ocean, may be melting underwater much faster than previously thought, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that used robotic kayaks. The findings, which challenge current frameworks for analyzing ocean-glacier interactions, have implications for the rest of the world’s tidewater glaciers, whose rapid retreat is contributing to sea-level rise.

A Robot and Software Make it Easier to Create Advanced Materials

A Rutgers-led team of engineers has developed an automated way to produce polymers, making it much easier to create advanced materials aimed at improving human health. The innovation is a critical step in pushing the limits for researchers who want to explore large libraries of polymers, including plastics and fibers, for chemical and biological applications such as drugs and regenerative medicine through tissue engineering.

Evolution of learning is key to better artificial intelligence

Researchers at Michigan State University say that true, human-level intelligence remains a long way off, but their new paper published in The American Naturalist explores how computers could begin to evolve learning in the same way as natural organisms did – with implications for many fields, including artificial intelligence.