The state of robotics: Engineers tackle the next tech challenges

By Alyssa Shaffer 


Can a robot be your friend? The specialized field of social robotics is young and full of possibilities for researchers. Experts have focused on expanding a robot’s potential to work and build relationships with the public. But what does a relationship with such new technology look like?

What other ways can robotics be integrated in daily life?

Developers have taken on the challenge of creating self-efficient, personal robots in a variety of ways. From a rugged all-terrain, emergency response robot to a fluffy,  educational storytelling robot, these creations can be as diverse as the human race.


The QC Bot

Vecna, a Healthcare IT company in Cambridge, has deployed QC Robots to assist medical staff in hospitals. The machines transport food and medical supplies throughout the facility. CTO Daniel Theobald explains how the hospital staff has grown attached to their latest team member.


The WALRUS Rover

Worcester Polytechnic students develop a first-response robot for emergency situations. The design is meant for the robot to adapt to all sorts of terrain and enter environments too dangerous for first-responders.


The Storytelling Companion

MIT Personal Robots Group’s projects are applied to childhood development in schools and hospitals. As fluffy and cute characters, they engage children to listen to and create stories with the robot. The group is also working on and will soon test a similar robot that facilitates foreign language skills.


Cambridge Hackspace Maker Space

This “bootstrapped maker space” in Cambridge encourages curious minds to engineer their own mechanical creations, according to its website. Through weekly meetings, participants experiment with various tools and technology to make the mechanics for various projects, including robots. Hackspace member Richard Hawthorn explains why their work is so exciting and easy to for anyone who would like to create something.

About Alyssa Shaffer 3 Articles

Alyssa Shaffer is putting all those years of TV-and-movie-watching to good use as an aspiring journalist. She graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in Communications and Film Studies, and she graduated from Emerson College in 2015 with a M.A. in Journalism.