August 2010 Issue

The Future of Robots


Walking, self-contained, adult-size robots are commonplace in robotics labs in Japan and South Korea, but there's only one made here. Why are we falling behind? By Jacob Ward

The world's most sophisticated robots don't assemble trucks or cruise around Mars. They're designed to support our surging population of elderly and disabled citizens. Meet 10 of the most promising senior-friendly 'bots. By Corey Binns

To circumnavigate the world in a record-breaking 40 days, l'Hydroptère Maxi takes inspiration from the Wright brothers By Dawn Stover

It might seem silly to investigate whether people are happier on the weekend, but behind such truisms are revelations about our brains, our behavior and our environment By Jason Daley

In orbit, debris as small as a metal screw can cripple a vehicle or kill an astronaut. Here are five ideas for cleaning up the growing band of trash circling Earth By David Kushner


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Made in Japan: Palro
One of dozens of autonomous Japanese 'bots to hit the market every year.Image courtesy of Fujisoft Inc.
Made in Japan: Asimo
Japan's leading humanoid is rumored to have cost $300 million and 100 worker-years.Honda
The robot is a jarring experiment in human-robot interaction.Image courtesy of ATR Intelligent Robotics/Communication Laboratories
Made in Korea: HSR Series
South Korea's HanSaRam (HSR) series has been updated every year since 2000.Image courtest of Kaist RIT Lab
Made in Korea: HSR Series (2)
The HSR series is built by the Robot Intelligence Technology Lab in Daejeon.Image courtest of Kaist RIT Lab
Made in Korea: HSR Series (3)
The U.S. lags far behind Japan and South Korea (where the HSR series hails from) in humanoids.Image courtest of Kaist RIT Lab
Made in Korea: Hubo
Jun-Ho Oh's answer to Asimo, and Korea's greatest humanoid.Image courtesy of Humanoid Robot Research Center
Made in Korea: Albert Hubo
The autonomy and bipedal movement of Hubo, with an expressive face by Hanson Robotics.Image courtesy of Hubo Lab/Kaist
Made in Korea: Mahru
Another Korean humanoid, the male of a pair, built as a "network humanoid."Image courtesy of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology
Made in the U.S.A.: Petman
Boston Dynamics's much-admired walking robot has a humanlike gait but relies on external power.Image courtesy of Boston Dynamics
Made in the U.S.A.: Wam Arm
Barrett Technology's purpose-build robot appendage is attached to a sturdy base.Image courtesy of William Townsend/Barrett Technology
Made in the U.S.A.: Robonaut
NASA and GM's spacefarer Robonaut 2 is headed to the ISS on November 1st. More on Robonaut hereImage Courtesy of NASA