The freezing waters underneath Antarctic ice shelves and the underside of the ice itself are of great interest to scientists… but who wants to go down there? Leave it to the robots. They won’t complain! And indeed, a pair of autonomous subs have been nosing around the ice for a full year now, producing data unlike any other expedition ever has.
There’s lots of research going into tiny drones, but one of the many hard parts is keeping them in the air for any real amount of time. Why not hitch a ride on something that already flies all day? That’s the idea behind this project that equips bumble bees with sensor-filled backpacks that charge wirelessly and collect data on the fields they visit.
Making something fly involves a lot of tradeoffs. Bigger stuff can hold more fuel or batteries, but too big and the lift required is too much. Small stuff takes less lift to fly but might not hold enough energy to do so. Insect-size drones have had that problem in the past — but now this RoboFly is taking its first flaps into the air, thanks to the power of lasers.
We’ve trained machine learning systems to identify objects, navigate streets, and recognize facial expressions, but as difficult as they may be, they don’t even touch the level of sophistication required to simulate, for example, a dog. Well, this project aims to do just that — in a very limited way of course. By observing the behavior of A Very Good Girl, this AI learned the rudiments of how to act like a dog.