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.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.