In 2012, robotic technology made some huge leaps forward. We put the world's most sophisticated planetary rover on Mars using a daring--and precise--robotic delivery system. We launched marine robots capable of taking on hurricanes and rebuilding damaged coral reefs. We saw four-legged robots set new land speed records, and winged, autonomous robots strut their potentially lethal stuff on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
We see this kind of improvement in robotic capabilities each year--indicative of just how much momentum the robotics revolution has gained in the opening stretch of the 21st century. Click through the gallery below to take a spin through the past year in robotics--which you can also think of as a spin through the future.
Click to launch the photo gallery
It's always amusing to think how laughably, pathetically rudimentary these cutting-edge robots will look in a century. Paralleling the 1900's, it seems to me that this decade will be the one where the technology gains focus and practicality, while it will be the 2020's when robots become truly ubiquitous. By 2030 we'll start having the same sentimentality about human-operated automobiles and human space explorers like Armstrong and Aldrin as our great-great-grandparents had about horse-drawn carriages and Lewis and Clark.