Skip to main content
Move the World.

The robotics revolution is upon us. And we submit to you that it (probably) won’t be a bloody one.

Why? Because leading robotics researchers in the U.S. and elsewhere are focusing their attention and energy on making machines that will make human life better.

From soft robots that could change internal medicine, to exoskeletons that could improve life for factory workers, here’s a glimpse of the robot research that could change life in the very near future.

Researchers have built a first-of-its-kind autonomous soft robot

When we talk about robots--heck, when we think about robots--we’re mostly talking and thinking about what’s called “hard” robots, meaning they’re made from hard materials (like metal).

But to make machines that can work inside humans, we’ll need to see big advances in the field of “soft” robotics, i.e., robots made from rubber-like materials and powered by chemical reactions rather than metal batteries. And those advances are happening now.

Just this month, researchers at Harvard announced the creation of a fully autonomous robot that has no metal components. It’s called the Octobot, and it works like this:

Robot nannies, robot doctors, robot everybodies

We already use robots to help us park our cars and clean our houses. But we might soon use them to do a lot more than that. In The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-first Century , Ryan Avent argues that there’s no hard limit to the types of jobs robots could do. He recently spoke to Timothy B. Lee at Vox about whether we’ll eventually see robots acting as our doctors and therapists.

We’re one prototype closer to a real-life mech suit

Hyundairobot
Credit: Hyundai

South Korean automaker Hyundai recently unveiled an upgraded version of the exoskeleton they first publicized last year. And this one looks really close to being market-ready.

Like most exo manufacturers, Hyundai says the suit can help restore mobility to the elderly and the injured. But new pics released by the carmaker suggest the suit could be useful for all kinds of people doing all kinds of work.

Coming this October: The first cyborg Olympics

cybathlon
Credit: Cybathlon

Sporting enthusiasts who can’t compete in the conventional Olympics due to the use of prosthetic devices will get their own competitive venue at October’s first Cybathlon in Zurich, Switzerland. But instead of tossing javelins or jumping hurtles, participants will compete by demonstrating control of their preferred assistive technology. “For competitors with prosthetic arms,” The Next Web reports, “contests include slicing loaves of bread and opening jars of jam. Other events include people climbing stairs or walking across stepping-stones.”

Should we be scared of robots stealing our jobs?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, investor and former computer programmer Andy Kessler says that robots will actually create more jobs than they steal.

And they may even be able to do jobs that humans simply can’t. Like stopping the invasive lionfish species from destroying the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Up Next

Food
"Doomsday" Seed Vault Now Contains Over 1 Million Samples
seed vault
Food
"Doomsday" Seed Vault Now Contains Over 1 Million Samples
Norway's Svalbard Global Seed Vault, also known as the “Doomsday” Vault, now contains more than one million varieties of seeds from across the globe.

Norway's Svalbard Global Seed Vault, also known as the “Doomsday” Vault, now contains more than one million varieties of seeds from across the globe.

Dispatches
Zika Could Be a "Smart Missile" for Brain Cancer
Zika Could Be a
Dispatches
Zika Could Be a "Smart Missile" for Brain Cancer
Zika can devastate fetal brains; scientists want to turn it against brain tumors instead.

Zika can devastate fetal brains; scientists want to turn it against brain tumors instead.

Dispatches
Your DNA Is Not the Same in Every Cell
Your DNA Is Not the Same in Every Cell
Dispatches
Your DNA Is Not the Same in Every Cell
Your body began with a single cell and a single genetic code. But it didn't stay that way for long.

Your body began with a single cell and a single genetic code. But it didn't stay that way for long.

Superhuman
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
Watch Now
Superhuman
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
When it comes to rare diseases, doctors often don’t have enough patients to determine the effectiveness of various treatments. Now, scientists are breeding pigs with the same genetic code as people with a disease in order to create a pool of test "patients" unlike any before.
Watch Now

There are thousands of diseases known to modern medicine without any cure or treatment. Many are too rare to get much attention from doctors, governments, or drug companies. But the gene editing tool CRISPR is offering hope for people with rare and hard to study diseases, like the genetic disease known as NF1. There are tens of thousands of Americans with this tumor-causing nerve disease, but because it has over 4,000...

Superhuman
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
Watch Now
Superhuman
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
VR has long been seen as an escape from the real world. But recently researchers have been putting an unexpected twist on that. They’re now exploring how VR could provide an escape from an unfortunate reality many face everyday: chronic pain.
Watch Now

Opioid addictions have become a dangerous side effect for many that take medications to treat chronic pain. To address this, doctors are exploring alternatives to prescriptions pain medicine. As part of this movement, Dr. Brennan Spiegel at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles has spear-headed some pretty fascinating research. He and his team are using virtual reality to reduce pain. Not only is it surprisingly effective...

Send Messages and Use Apps Without the Internet
Send Messages and Use Apps Without the Internet
Watch Now
Send Messages and Use Apps Without the Internet
Sending texts and using apps without the internet isn’t magic. It’s very real. And it could be a game-changer for those that need it most. Here’s why…
Watch Now

Millions of mobile users are coming online across the developing world. And yet, in many places, internet service remains slow and data can be expensive. The FireChat app is working to solve this problem. Users can create small, peer-to-peer networks within 200 feet of each other, and the more individuals on the network, the better it becomes. While traditional cell networks are slowed down and interrupted by overuse,...

Coded
The Unhackable Email Service
The Unhackable Email Service
Watch Now
Coded
The Unhackable Email Service
Edward Snowden’s email service of choice wants to make mass surveillance obsolete.
Watch Now

Ladar Levison’s email service counted Edward Snowden among its users. But, when the FBI demanded Levison hand over Snowden’s communications, Levison destroyed the company’s servers. Now, he’s back with a more secure version of the service that could make mass surveillance obsolete.