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DARPA’s Rescue-Robot Showdown

Robots face off in first phase of DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

6 min read
DARPA’s Rescue-Robot Showdown
Illustration: Brian Stauffer

“Where are the robots?” That was what many people were asking when events at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant spiraled out of control in March 2011. With deadly levels of radiation collecting inside the damaged reactors, attempting to repair them became too dangerous for an emergency crew. Could Japan, a country known for its automated factories and advanced humanoids, use robots to take the place of human workers and stop the disaster in its tracks?

The answer, alas, was no: Robots are generally still too limited in what they can do. They may be great for carrying out repetitive tasks in clutter-free environments, but entering a rubble-strewn building, climbing ladders, using fire hoses—these operations are beyond today’s best robots.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could an artificial brain be? Perhaps a very long way off still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Industrial Functional Safety Training from UL Solutions

Build knowledge and skills to better navigate today's functional safety landscape

3 min read

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UL Solutions

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