Forecast: April 2010: Bright Ideas: Hail, Robots!

Bright Ideas

| Boston Magazine |

National Robotics Week begins on 4/10 — an occasion marked by a Botfest at UMass Lowell (4/10) and a Robot Block Party at the Museum of Science (4/17). Meanwhile, plenty of new Hub-bred technologies continue to pave the way for the inevitable takeover by robot overlords. Our favorite local advances:

A COOLER CARRIER The Pentagon gave Boston Dynamics $32 million to create a ‘bot that could run and jump. The Waltham company came up with BigDog — amazingly innovative and frighteningly dystopian. This four-legged automated carrier is expected to help lighten the load for ground troops.
WAREHOUSE FANTASIA Woburn’s Kiva Systems can turn a warehouse into something out of a Harry Potter novel: Automated shelves move so that workers don’t have to. The system allows the inventory to constantly adjust location based on demand, ensuring the more popular items get out the door quicker.
A SPY ON THE WALL Harvard’s Robert Wood is at work on an autonomous robotic fly that is about the size of its natural counterpart. It’s hoped the insectlike robot could be a great espionage tool. Next up on the CIA budget: bug zappers.

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