Goto

Collaborating Authors

Gentle robot hand nabs sea creatures in the deep ocean

ZDNet

We know surprisingly little about life in the deep ocean, one of the last unexplored realms on our planet. ROVs capable of deep ocean exploration have begun to open up this mysterious realm, but sea life is elusive and difficult to study in the field. Many deep sea creatures are soft-bodied, as they don't need hard shells to protect them from larger predators. Catching these creatures typically means killing them. A robotic hand developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Radcliffe's Institute for Advanced Study may help.


Robot hand is soft and strong

#artificialintelligence

Fifty years ago, the first industrial robot arm (called Unimate) assembled a simple breakfast of toast, coffee, and champagne. While it might have looked like a seamless feat, every movement and placement was coded with careful consideration. Even with today's more intelligent and adaptive robots, this task remains difficult for machines with rigid hands. They tend to work only in structured environments with predefined shapes and locations, and typically can't cope with uncertainties in placement or form. In recent years, though, roboticists have come to grips with this problem by making fingers out of soft, flexible materials like rubber.


New robot hand is soft and strong

#artificialintelligence

While it might have looked like a seamless feat, every movement and placement was coded with careful consideration. Even with today's more intelligent and adaptive robots, this task remains difficult for machines with rigid hands. They tend to work only in structured environments with predefined shapes and locations, and typically can't cope with uncertainties in placement or form. In recent years, though, roboticists have come to grips with this problem by making fingers out of soft, flexible, materials like rubber. This pliability lets these soft robots pick up anything from grapes to boxes and empty water bottles, but they're still unable to handle large or heavy items.


See the Hidden Eating Habits of Deep-Sea Creatures

National Geographic News

Of all Earth's major ecosystems, the deep sea is one of the least understood--even though it is the largest. But a new comprehensive study that looked at 30 years of video footage from remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) is helping researchers piece together a more accurate map of who is eating whom underwater.


Penguins Caught Feasting on an Unexpected Prey

National Geographic News

Adélie penguins like the ones shown here were among the species found to snack on jellyfish, previously thought to be an unlikely prey for the birds. Jellyfish don't look all that appetizing. They're also armed to the bell with some of the deadliest chemical weapons on Earth. They don't even make for a very hearty meal. So it seems unlikely that small, feathery penguins would willingly seek this potentially dangerous prey.