Close

The Robots Are Coming . . . to Your iPad

IEEE Spectrum is proud to unveil Robots for iPad, a fun and engaging app featuring the world’s coolest robots

1 min read
The Robots Are Coming . . . to Your iPad

Robots for iPad app screenshot featured robots

We know you love robots. We love robots, too. In fact, who doesn't love robots? Robots are one of those things that capture the imagination of people of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities. So we're really proud to unveil this project. Robots for iPad is an app featuring the world's coolest robots. If you want to know how robotics is going to change the world, this app is for you.

The app, which is now available in Apple's App Store, includes 126 robots from 19 countries. I could go on and describe the main features, but I think the best way to see what the app is about is to watch this video.

As the video shows, you can spin robots 360 degrees, review detailed technical specs, see photos and videos, and much more. For all the features and screenshots, check out the app's website: http://robotsforipad.com.

We hope you like the app as much as we do. And if your favorite robot (maybe a robot you helped to build) is not in the app, don't worry. Send us an email and we'll try to include it in a future update. If you have other suggestions for the app (should we build an Android version?), send those as well. We want your feedback to make this app even better.

Finally, we would like to thank the hundreds of roboticists, researchers, engineers, and other folks who provided ideas, information, and images for the app. Without YOU this project would not have been possible. So thank you, and keep making awesome robots!

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
LightGreen

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

"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.

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