Flying Fish Robot Engineering
Engineers know that creating robots that mimic nature is one of the hardest tasks possible, but a team at Imperial College London have just gotten one step closer. They created a flying fish that comes equipped with a small pump in its rear that takes in water from the environment and then combines it with calcium-carbide in a reaction chamber to produce combustible acetylene gas, thus pushing it out of the water as the gas ignites and expands. Read more for a video and additional information.

CIMON Spherical Robot ISS
The Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (CIMON), a spherical 11-pound robot, has just returned from the ISS. During its time there, it used microphones and cameras to record astronauts, complete with an expressive digital face, and even the ability to make small talk. Researchers at IBM and Airbus have almost have its successor, set to launch in December, ready with plenty of upgrades, including a new computer, better microphones, improved flight control and more conversation skills. Read more for a video and additional information.

MIT Robotic Thread Brain
MIT engineers have developed robo-thread that takes us one step closer to robotic brain surgery. This magnetically steerable, thread-like robot can actively glide through narrow pathways, like the brain’s labrynthine vasculature. When this robotic thread is paired with existing endovascular technologies in the future, doctors will be able to remotely guide the robot through a patient’s brain vessels to quickly treat blockages and lesions, such as those that occur in aneurysms and stroke. Read more for a video and additional information.

ANYmal C Legged Robot
Say goodbye to workplace accidents, or at least during industrial inspections, thanks to ANYbotics’ ANYmal C autonomous four-legged robot. It comes equipped with various sensors to provide high availability, safety, and reliability, complete with powerful torque-controllable actuators designed to carry the high-tech robot over steep inclines as well as taking the strain of over a million cycles. Read more for a video and additional information.

Hip-Only Soft Exosuit Robotic Shorts
Photo credit: The Verge
Exoskeleton suits are nothing new, but Harvard University researchers have created a new hip-only soft exosuit that’s basically a pair of robotic shorts designed to make one feel lighter when walking or running. This 11-pound system, built around a pair of flexible shorts, comes equipped with a motor that you wear on your lower back. The motors worn on the lower back are connected to the wearer’s thighs through a series of actuation cables, and by applying force to them, the system assists the gluteal muscles in powering the legs. Read more for a video and additional information.

Astro Robot Dog AI
Boston Dyamics may be the most well known robotics maker online for their SpotMini and BigDog robots, but researchers at Florida Atlantic University may have something to rival them, called “Astro”. This robot dog uses AI, powered by NVIDIA Jetson TX2 graphics processing units installed in its 3D-printed head, to respond to commands. Yes, it has four teraflops of computing power as well as a radar imaging module, cameras, and a directional microphone to interpret exactly what you’re saying, while still being aware of its environment. Read more for a video and additional information.

Russia Fedor Space Robot
Russia’s FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Research) humanoid robot is set to be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on August 22nd, where it will spend a 1.5-weeks aboard the orbital outpost. In the future, humanoid robots like this will be sent to the moon in preparation for a manned mission to the Earth’s natural satellite. “We will have a preparatory stage on that matter – first, we will send a humanoid robot there, and only after that we will send humans, after we study all the risks and learn to cope with them,” said Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.

Japan Research Robot Tail Humans
Keio University researchers in Japan have developed a prototype robot tail, called Arque, for humans. When worn, it can be adjusted to the wearer’s body and allow them to stay balanced when moving quickly or handling heavy objects. Thanks to a modular vertebrae design, it can easily adapt to the wearer’s height and weight. The prototype must be anchored to an external pressurized air system, so this version is not fully mobile. Read more for a video and additional information.

Gray Area Festival Exoskeleton Rave
How about a music festival that combines art, technology, and music? You’ll find it at the Gray Area Festival’s exhibit called ‘Inferno’ where attendees wear robotic exoskeletons and dance to a ‘dark industrial’ soundtrack. The only real bizarre aspect about this rave is that the subjects aren’t in control of the suits, but rather the ‘DJ’ who controls both the music and their movement. Read more for a video and additional information.

Aquanaut Underwater Transformer
Photo credit: Ken Kiefer via IEEE Spectrum
Think of Aquanaut as a real-life underwater Transformers robot, as it can turn from autonomous electric submarine to a humanoid-like machine. It’s designed for deep-sea repairs and other tasks that traditional robots may struggle with that are too dangerous for human divers. Currently, it’s limited to swimming pool tests, but the ultimate goal is ocean expeditions and active deployment, where it will be used to service deep-sea components of oil and gas-mining rigs. Read more for two videos and additional information.