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The Rodney Brooks Rules for Predicting a Technology’s Commercial Success

A few key questions will help you distinguish winners from losers

10 min read
Illustration: Chris Philpot
Illustration: Chris Philpot

Building electric cars and reusable rockets is fairly easy. Building a nuclear fusion reactor, flying cars, self-driving cars, or a Hyperloop system is very hard. What makes the difference?

The answer, in a word, is experience. The difference between the possible and the practical can only be discovered by trying things out. Therefore, even though the physics suggests that a thing will work, if it has not even been demonstrated in the lab you can consider that thing to be a long way off. If it has been demonstrated in prototypes only, then it is still distant. If versions have been deployed at scale, and most of the necessary refinements are of an evolutionary character, then perhaps it may become available fairly soon. Even then, if no one wants to use the thing, it will languish in the warehouse, no matter how much enthusiasm there is among the technologists who developed it.

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This Muscular Robot Does the Twist

Tensegrity robot achieves high torsional motion

2 min read
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A robot with high torsional power is able to remove a cap from a Coca-Cola bottle.

Tokyo Institute of Technology/IEEE

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

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Purdue University offers professionals around the world a flexible, STEM-focused, all-online MBA from a top-ranked business school

9 min read
Photo of Purdue campus showing a sculpture of a rock topped with a large metal P letter.

Purdue is one of the world’s premier engineering universities.

Purdue University

This sponsored article is brought to you by Purdue University’s online MBA program.

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