Robo-Insight #2 – Robohub


Source: DALL E 2 OpenAI quickly “a hyperrealistic image of a robot reading the news on a laptop in a coffee shop”

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Robo-Insight, the bi-weekly robotics news update! In this post, we are pleased to share some of the great advances in this area, highlighting advances in hazard mapping, surface crawling, pump control, adaptive gripping, surgery, healthcare assistance, and mineral extraction. These developments demonstrate the continuous evolution and potential of robotics technology.

Advance hazard mapping through robot collaboration

In the hazard mapping domain, researcher have developed a collaborative scheme that uses ground and air robots for hazard mapping in contaminated areas. The team improved the quality of the density maps and reduced estimation errors by using heterogeneous coverage control techniques. Compared to homogeneous alternatives, this strategy optimizes robot placement based on the unique characteristics of each robot, resulting in better estimated values ​​and shorter operating times. This study has important ramifications for hazard response tactics, enabling collaborative robotic systems to map hazardous compounds in a more effective and precise way.

The environment in which the model is simulated. Source.

New bioinspired crawler robot

And speaking of ground robots, custom soft robots made by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, incorporating gait patterns of starfish and gecko. This innovative robot demonstrates improved crawling ability on different surfaces, including slopes, by utilizing starfish-inspired leg movements and gecko-inspired adhesive patches. The robot’s ability to adhere to surfaces and navigate is achieved through the integration of pneumatic actuators and specially designed gecko patches. This breakthrough in soft robotics has the potential for a wide variety of applications, especially in aquatic environments.

Bioinspirational pictures. Source.

New pump for the soft robot used for cocktails

Also in relation to soft robotics, Harvard University researcher have created a compact, soft peristaltic pump that addresses the key challenges of large, rigid power components in the field of soft robotics. The pump can handle a wide range of fluids with various viscosities and has a variable pressure flow thanks to an electrically operated dielectric elastomer actuator. The pump can be used to make cocktails. However, its applications are also much greater as it can be used in manufacturing, biological therapy and food handling due to its small size and adaptability. These advances create new opportunities for soft robots to perform complex jobs and maneuver through challenging conditions.

A soft pump that can move the robot. Source: harvards

Robotic fingertips with shape-shifting abilities

Shifting our focus to robotic grips, using vitrimeric shape memory polymers, researchers from Brubotics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Imec has created a shape-adaptive fingertip for the robotic gripper. When subjected to certain conditions, these polymers can change their mechanical characteristics reversibly. For smooth objects, the fingertips are curved, while hard objects have straight fingertips. By heating the shape adaptive fingertip above its glass transition temperature and reshaping it with external force, the fingertip can be programmed. The researchers demonstrated that fingertips can pick up and move objects of various shapes, showing promise for adaptive sorting and production lines.

Shape Adaptation Process, Source

ChatGPT is used as a key tool to advance robotic operations

In the field of robotic surgery, to improve the accessibility and functionality of the da Vinci Surgical Robot, researcher at Wayne State Universityy recently developed an interface that supports ChatGPT. The power of the ChatGPT language model allows the system to understand and react to the surgeon’s natural language commands. Its implementation enables commands such as tracing surgical tools, finding tools, taking photos, and starting/stopping video recording, providing direct and user-friendly interaction with the robot. Despite the promise of system accuracy and usability, there are still issues to be resolved, such as network latency, errors, and control over model replies. The long-term effects and prospective influence of natural language interfaces in the surgical setting need to be assessed through additional research and development.

It shows the process that the model goes through. Source

A wearable robot that can act as a personal healthcare assistant

And speaking of robots in healthcare, researchers from the University of Maryland has developed Calico, a small wearable robot that can attach to clothing and perform a variety of healthcare assistance tasks. Weighing only 18 grams, Calico can function as a stethoscope, monitor vital signs and guide users through fitness routines. By attaching neodymium magnets to the clothing track, the robot can pinpoint its location and plot a path across the body. With a payload capacity of 20 grams and speeds of up to 227 mm/s, Calico offers promising potential for future healthcare monitoring and assistance.

Calico over clothes. Source: University of Maryland

Swiss robot joins for mineral exploration

Finally, in the realm of lunar material extraction, a legged Robot is being developed by Swiss engineer from ETH Zurich as part of groundbreaking research to get them ready for a mineral prospecting journey to the moon. Researchers teach robots teamwork to guarantee their usefulness even if something goes wrong. The team aimed to maximize productivity and account for any shortfalls by combining experts and generalist robots equipped with various measurement and analytical tools. The robots’ autonomy will also be enhanced by the researchers, allowing them to delegate work to each other while retaining control and intervention options for the operator.

Image of a trio of legged robots during testing in a Swiss gravel quarry. (Photo: ETH Zurich / Takahiro Miki) Source: ETH Zurich

Recent advances in various domains demonstrate the diverse and evolving nature of robotics technology, opening up new possibilities for applications across a wide range of industries. The continued advances in robotics demonstrate the innovative endeavors and potential impact this technology will have for the future.


  1. Agung Nugroho Jati, Bambang Riyanto Trilaksono, Muhammad, E., & Widyawardana Adiprawita. (2023). Ground and air robot collaboration in hazard mapping based on heterogeneous coverage.
  2. Acharya, S., Roberts, P., Rane, T., Singhal, R., Hong, P., Ranade, V., Majidi, C., Webster-Wood, V., & Reeja-Jayan, B. (2023, 16 June). Gecko adhesion-based starfish crawler robot.
  3. The pump drives the soft robot, making cocktails. (td). Retrieved July 19, 2023.
  4. Kashef Tabrizian, S., Alabiso, W., Shaukat, U., Terryn, S., Rossegger, E., Brancart, J., Legrand, J., Schlögl, S., & Vanderborght, B. (2023, June 30). VITRIMERIC molds a memory polymer-based fingertip for an adaptive grip. Border.
  5. Pandya, A. (2023). ChatGPT Enabled daVinci Surgical Robot Prototype: Progress and Limitations. Robotics, 12(4), 97.
  6. A Wearable Robotic Assistant That Lies All Over Your Body. (td). Retrieved July 19, 2023.
  7. Robot team on a lunar exploration tour. (2023, July 12).

Shaunak Kapur is part of the Robohub volunteer team, and soon to be a senior at High School (Texas). Shaun has been fascinated by robotics from a young age.

Shaunak Kapur is part of the Robohub volunteer team, and soon to be a senior at High School (Texas). Shaun has been fascinated by robotics from a young age.


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