An Energy Crunch Worsens

Increasing power demands and tight energy reserves pose a heavy environmental burden, but distributed generation and new storage architectures could lighten the load

2 min read

This is part of IEEE Spectrum's special report: Always On: Living in a Networked World.

Growing pressures to reduce the environmental impact of power generation without bankrupting consumers are changing the industry--and creating concern.

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Here’s How Apptronik Is Making Their Humanoid Robot

Is now the right time for useful, affordable, general-purpose humanoids?

4 min read
Three men stand in a robotics laboratory around a small white upper body humanoid robot on a pedestal

Apptronik co-founders Dr. Nick Paine, Jeff Cardenas and Bill Helmsing pictured with their humanoid upper body, Astra.

Apptronik, a Texas-based robotics company with its roots in the Human Centered Robotics Lab at University of Texas at Austin, has spent the last few years working towards a practical, general purpose humanoid robot. By designing their robot (called Apollo) completely from the ground up, including electronics and actuators, Apptronik is hoping that they’ll be able to deliver something affordable, reliable, and broadly useful. But at the moment, the most successful robots are not generalized systems—they’re uni-taskers, robots that can do one specific task very well but more or less nothing else. A general purpose robot, especially one in a human form factor, would have enormous potential. But the challenge is enormous, too.

So why does Apptronik believe that they have the answer to general purpose humanoid robots with Apollo? To find out, we spoke with Apptronik’s founders, CEO Jeff Cardenas and CTO Nick Paine.

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Forecasting the Ice Loss of Greenland’s Glaciers With Viscoelastic Modeling

Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany are developing new models to simulate how glaciers behave

8 min read
Aerial view of Nioghalvfjerdsbræ showing the extensive patterns of the crevasses

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

To someone standing near a glacier, it may seem as stable and permanent as anything on Earth can be. However, Earth’s great ice sheets are always moving and evolving. In recent decades, this ceaseless motion has accelerated. In fact, ice in polar regions is proving to be not just mobile, but alarmingly mortal.

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