Meet Aquanaut, the Underwater Transformer

Houston Mechatronics built a robot sub that transforms into a skilled humanoid

10 min read
Photo of Aquanaut in one of the biggest indoor pools in the world at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.

Just a short distance away from me, two astronauts are practicing for a spacewalk. I’m drifting weightlessly, in a silence broken only by my own breathing and the occasional update from Mission Control in my headset. But this isn’t the dark void of space. I’m in Houston, scuba diving in a massive swimming pool that NASA uses to train astronauts for zero-gravity environments. And though it’s a thrill to watch the space-suited figures at work, I didn’t come to see them. I’m here for a peek at Aquanaut, the bright orange robot that we’re sharing the pool with.

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2022—The Year the Hydrogen Economy Launched?

The Inflation Reduction Act and the war in Ukraine pump billions into clean hydrogen R&D

5 min read
A man in a blue lab coat looks at equipment in a lab

A technician at Plug Power in Concord, Mass., secures a connector before a test of a hydrogen electrolyzer on July 5, 2022.

Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Among the technological visions that seem perpetually futuristic (think commercial nuclear fusion and maglev trains), the hydrogen economy has always been tantalizing. Hydrogen produced from renewable energy or nuclear power, with minimal greenhouse-gas emissions, could be piped or transported pretty much anywhere, using mostly existing infrastructure. It could power trucks, cars, planes, and ships and generate electricity, either in fuel cells or combustion turbines. In short, it could do anything fossil fuels do now, but with substantially reduced climate impact.

Now, after decades of false starts and overly optimistic projections, several factors are giving an unprecedented lift to clean hydrogen. In the United States, sweeping legislation capped a series of moves by the country’s Department of Energy (DOE) over the past year to drive down the cost of low-carbon hydrogen and stimulate demand for the fuel. And in Europe, a looming fossil-fuel crisis has sent officials scrambling to find alternatives to the 155 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas that EU countries imported in 2021.

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Q&A: Marc Raibert on the Boston Dynamics AI Institute

The founder of Boston Dynamics talks with us about the new $400 million research institute

12 min read
Marc Raibert, an older white man with a bald head and a short white beard and glasses, gestures as he speaks on a stage. He is wearing formal pants and a flower-print short sleeve shirt.

Marc Raibert, founder and chairman of Boston Dynamics, speaks at a Hyundai Motor Group news conference during CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Steve Marcus/Reuters/Alamy

Last week, Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics announced an initial investment of over $400 million to launch the new Boston Dynamics AI Institute. The Institute was conceptualized by (and will be led by) Marc Raibert, the founder of Boston Dynamics, with the goal of “solving the most important and difficult challenges facing the creation of advanced robots.” That sounds hugely promising, but of course we had questions—namely, what are those challenges, how is this new institute going to solve them, and what are these to-be-created advanced robots actually going to do? And fortunately, IEEE Spectrum was able to speak with Marc Raibert himself to get a better understanding of what the Institute will be all about.

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myBuddy, a Dual-Arm Collaborative Robot Powered by Raspberry Pi

Enhance your development efficiency with myBuddy, the most cost-effective dual-arm collaborative robot

3 min read

In July 2022, Elephant Robotics released myBuddy—a dual-arm, 13-axis humanoid collaborative robot powered by Raspberry Pi with multiple functions—at an incredible price. It works with multiple accessories such as suction pumps, grippers, and more. Additionally, users can boost their secondary development with the artificial intelligence and myAGV kits and detailed tutorials published by Elephant Robotics. myBuddy helps users achieve more applications and developments as a collaborative robotic arm.

Elephant Robotics has been committed to R&D, manufacturing, and producing collaborative robots, such as myCobot, mechArm, myPalletizer, and myAGV. To meet the expectations of users from more than 50 countries worldwide and allow everyone to enjoy the world of robotics, Elephant Robotics is achieving more breakthroughs in product R&D ability and manufacturing capacity.

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