3 New Chips to Help Robots Find Their Way Around

Intel and academic groups are designing specialized hardware to speed path planning and other aspects of robot coordination Robots have a tough job making their way in the world. Life throws up obstacles, and it takes a lot of computing power to avoid them. At the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference last month in San Francisco, engineers presented some ideas for lightening that computational burden. That’s a particularly good thing if you’re a compact robot, with a small battery pack and a big job to do.

Ultra-low power chips help make small robots more capable

An ultra-low power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of low-power motors and sensors, the new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) — which operates on milliwatts of power — could help intelligent swarm robots operate for hours instead of minutes. More details