The July 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

The Robots App Is FREE During National Robotics Week

More than 30,000 people have already downloaded the app over the weekend. What are you waiting for?

2 min read
The Robots App Is FREE During National Robotics Week

Do you like robot stuff? I know you do. Do you like free robot stuff? OF COURSE you do!Then go get your free Robots for iPad app on the App Store. More than 30,000 people have already downloaded the app over the weekend. What are you waiting for?

And if you like this promotion, don't thank me. Thank the awesome folks from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS), which is sponsoring the app from 6-14 April in celebration of U.S. National Robotics Week. RAS is an international society of engineers and technologists focused on advancing innovation, education, and research in robotics and automation. The world's top roboticists are members of RAS. The world's best robotics conferences are organized by RAS. The world's best robotics publications are published by RAS. Need I say more? Check their website to learn more and become a member.

Launched late last year, the Robots app is the best, most complete guide to the amazing world of robotics. It features 126 real-world robots from 19 countries, with hundreds of photos, videos, technical specs, articles, and exclusive interactives that let you spin and move robots with your fingertips. It's a critically-acclaimed, award-winning app that's been featured as "New and Noteworthy" by Apple in the App Store and received reviews and mentions in Wired, CNET, Mashable, The Verge, New YorkerNew York Times, Boing Boing, Forbes, Guardian, Cult of Mac, and many other places.

For even more on the app, watch our promo video and see screenshots here, and then head out to the App Store to download your free copy.

PS: To the Android community asking us about an Android version, we hear you. We would love to do an Android version, and we're considering how to make that happen. We thank you for your patience!

The Conversation (0)

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

11 min read
Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

Keep Reading ↓Show less