NASA’s newest exploration rover, dubbed Axel for its design, can climb steep and rocky terrain and explore deep craters on planets like Mars. It uses only three actuators to operate upside down, right side up, turn in place, and follow illogical paths. Axel can maneuver autonomously using cameras, sensors, and wireless communication, or be tethered to a larger spacecraft.
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon have engineered a snakelike robotic arm that can monitor health signs and potentially administer treatments. The robot is equipped with sensors and a small camera, which wirelessly relays video to a laptop. A researcher watches the video onscreen and wirelessly controls the robot’s movements with a joystick. The robot can move anywhere along the length of the body, and can lower itself to administer oxygen or monitor a person’s breathing.