There are some tasks traditional robots — the rigid and metallic kind — simply aren’t cut out for. Soft-bodied robots, on the other hand, may be able to safely interact with people or slip into tight spaces with ease. For robots to reliably complete their programmed duties, they need to know the whereabouts of all their body parts. That’s a tall task for a soft robot that can deform in a virtually infinite number of ways.
MIT researchers have developed an algorithm to help engineers design soft robots that collect more useful information about their surroundings. The deep-learning algorithm suggests an optimized placement of sensors within the robot’s body, allowing it to better interact with its environment and complete assigned tasks. The advance is a step toward the automation of robot design. “The system not only learns a given task, but also how to best design the robot to solve that task,” said MIT student PhD student Alexander Amini. “Sensor placement is a very difficult problem to solve. So, having this solution is extremely exciting.” (Full Article)
Lillianna Byington, Christopher Doering, Megan Poinski
After an unpredictable and turbulent 2020, many are hoping 2021 will bring more stability. But the pandemic is expected to still hold sway and influence some of the biggest food and beverage trends in the coming months.
One major theme that will continue in the new year reflects what many wish 2020 had more of: health. Companies will be looking to launch foods and beverages with immunity-boosting ingredients. The plant-based and alternative space will also see continued growth, but take different shapes with new ingredients, from algae to mushrooms. Full Article
Cities house more than half the world's population and will see an additional 2.5 billion new residents by 2050. This growth will not only increase the demand for technological advancements, but will also increase demand for quick and connected emergency responders.
Emergency responders in smart cities can get real-time situational awareness through new data-rich technologies. By collaborating with other municipal agencies, cities can respond better and use resources more intelligently, removing issues altogether to improve the quality of life in their communities. This holistic and resilient approach helps move society forward. Full Article