Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go

To be useful around people, robots need to learn how to walk like we do Gif: Dan Saelinger Robots have walked on legs for decades. Today’s most advanced humanoid robots can tramp along flat and inclined surfaces, climb up and down stairs, and slog through rough terrain. Some can even jump. But despite the progress, legged robots still can’t begin to match the agility, efficiency, and robustness of humans and animals. Existing walking robots hog power and spend too much time in the shop. All too often, they fail, they fall, and they break. For the robotic helpers we’ve long dreamed of to become a reality, these machines will have to learn to walk as we do. We must build robots with legs because our world is designed for legs. We step through narrow spaces, we navigate around obstacles, we go up and down steps. Robots on wheels or tracks Continue reading Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go

Mathematics Professor Bonnie Berger honored with ISCB Senior Scientist Award

Bonnie Berger, the Simons Professor of Mathematics at MIT, has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the International Society for Computational Biology Senior Scientist Award. The annual award recognizes “highly significant, long-term career achievement,” in Berger’s case for visionary, foundational, and deep contributions to the field. ISCB is the premier society in computational biology and bioinformatics with 3,400 members.  “It’s a tremendous honor to join such a distinguished and accomplished group of scientists,” said Berger, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Dr. Berger made fundamental contributions in diverse areas of bioinformatics, starting from important contributions in protein structure prediction in 1990s to founding the area of compressive genomics a few years ago,” said her nominator, Pavel Pevzner, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California at San Diego. “Her work combines algorithmic depth, biological relevance, practical utility, and broad Continue reading Mathematics Professor Bonnie Berger honored with ISCB Senior Scientist Award

MWC Barcelona 2019: 5G Is Putting Robots’ Heads in the Cloud

Low-latency 5G networks could help solve a “critical problem” for smart robots Photo: Michael Koziol Dal.Komm Coffee’s Beat robot provides caffeine sustenance to attendees of MWC Barcelona. I almost missed out on the vanguard of the 5G robot revolution because I don’t drink coffee. The near miss occurred on Monday at mobile network trade association GSMA’s booth at MWC Barcelona (formerly called Mobile World Congress), where Dal.Komm Coffee was demonstrating a coffee-serving robot. Thankfully for non-coffee drinking weirdos like me, hot chocolate was also available. After placing an order via a smartphone nearby, a robotic arm behind a glass panel juggled cups, operated coffee makers, and gently placed drinks on trays so they could be collected by waiting humans. According to a representative of Dal.Komm, the robot’s precise movement was only possible with a 5G network provided by the KT Corporation, the Korean teleco. The 5G network supports a pair Continue reading MWC Barcelona 2019: 5G Is Putting Robots’ Heads in the Cloud