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Deep underground, robotic teamwork saves the day

Deploying a motley crew of robots that can roll, walk and fly is a smart strategy for search-and-rescue operations — and so is trusting the machines to make decisions on the ground

Reading the mind with machines

Researchers are developing brain-computer interfaces that would enable communication for people with locked-in syndrome and other conditions that render them unable to speak

The long-awaited mission that could transform our understanding of Mars

A next-generation instrument on a delayed Martian rover may be the key to answering the question of life on the Red Planet

Handing the surgeon’s scalpel to a robot

After decades of merely assisting doctors, are sophisticated machines ready to take charge?

Making computer chips act more like brain cells

Flexible organic circuits that mimic biological neurons could increase processing speed and might someday hook right into your head

Making microbots smart

What would it take to create a truly intelligent microbot, one that can operate independently? A roboticist describes the fascinating minutiae and the medical jobs these tiny machines could do for us.

Could high-flying kites power your home?

Nearly a dozen companies are betting on computer-controlled, airborne wind energy to electrify the future

Orbiting robots could help fix and fuel satellites in space

Machines that grip, grapple and maneuver will soon have their go at maintaining the fleet of small spacecraft that encircle Earth

Wild robots: Five ways scientists are using robotics to study animal behavior

Biomimetic bots can teach researchers a lot about how creatures interact in the natural world

Hi, robot: Why robotics and language need each other

Machines might better understand our commands if they experienced our physical worlds, researchers say. That enhanced perception could sharpen their listening skills and improve performance.

Why some artificial intelligence is smart until it’s dumb

Machine learning has found uses in fields as diverse as particle physics and radiology, and its influence is growing. But so is the understanding of its limits.

Less toy, more workhorse: Drones get functional

Airborne autonomous vehicles could soon be dropping off your Amazon packages, delivering your food and even ensuring that the infrastructure around you is safe and sound

Robots designed to self-construct

Robot researcher Mark Yim offers a look inside the promising field of modular reconfigurable robotics — bots that can shift form to tackle an array of tasks

Cell meets robot in hybrid microbots

Researchers are developing microbe-propelled tiny bots to deliver drugs, target cancer or do other work in the body

Reaching out to touch virtual reality

New technologies mean we won’t just see and hear digital information. We’ll also feel it.

Bypassing paralysis

By decoding brain activity with electrical implants, computers can help disabled people move a robotic arm — or their own

Humans beat robots, hands down

We can readily manipulate all kinds of objects; for them, versatility is a huge struggle. They need better mechanics — and a lot more of the intelligence that goes into handling things.

The future of work: Will robots take my job?

Automation threatens to replace some workers but can grow overall employment. The one sure thing is that technology will change how we labor.

Roles for robots

Robots are getting geared up for a variety of human health and social uses

A robotic window on the human mind

Engineers aim to build machines that put people at ease. The effort reveals truths about ourselves.

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