MIT’s Auxbots aren’t your typical modular robots

MIT’s Auxbots aren’t your typical modular robots

By Alessia Hernandez

Once combined, the Auxbots have the opportunity to imitate the movements of the turtles. We sat down with MIT graduate student Gregory Xie (opens in a brand new tab) to see firsthand Auxbots, a strapless robotic unit that takes a different approach to modular robotics.

Robots from the MIT University

MIT’s Computer Science and AI (Artificial Intelligence) Laboratory has presented a new breakthrough in the emerging field of soft robots, a whole new generation of devices that in the future will leave the usual metal bodiesfull of cables and chips.

The composition is more similar to living beings. The robotics industry is growing unstoppably and advances in Ia (artificial intelligence) will mark a point of no return. So much so that the greatest international professionals have been warning of the impact of all kinds on society for years. It is estimated that 800 million workers will be replaced by robots by 2030 and that is just the beginning.

In the developed regions, up to one third of the working population has to find a new job. Or just
completely modify the useful model we know. The question is obvious, what are we humans going
to do after the robots do (almost) all the work?

Soft robots from MIT

Recent advances in robotics will have an even greater impact on society. While so far most  robots are located in  manufacturing plants, logistics management or industrial and agricultural fields, and use machines made of strong but robust materials, Soft robots are based on living things and offer several benefits in their versatile functionality. Every writer’s initiative is to bring them closer to humans despite their physical appearance.

Of course, soft robots are able to operate much more carefully than ordinary solid robots, but until now they lacked the ability to notice what resources they were interacting with. To overcome this limitation, MIT academics have equipped their robots with sensors, cameras and software, allowing them to “see and classify” a wide variety of objects and act accordingly.

“We want you to see the planet feeling it,” explains the director of CSAIL. In practice, the robot can “feel” objects, apply force according to their type and grab anything from glass milk bottles to chips. Without breaking it, you understand.

Unlike other soft touch sensors, MIT’s development will be able to be manufactured quickly, adjust to the latest tweezers and allow sensitivity and reliability. The first application space is the construction or logistics space, however, as we mentioned, this is just the beginning as this soft robotics aims to revolutionize this industry.

Final details

MIT will present its developments at the 2020 World Robotics and Automation Conference to be held online. This is a breakthrough although they managed not to look like it, because “sensory” objects are of great complexity for robots. Soft robotics is still in its infancy and in a few decades will revolutionize classical robotics based on molecular manipulation and approaches to the performance of living organisms. Psychologically through Ia (artificial intelligence), but also physically.

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