Today’s robotic arms have limited flexibility, with many robots requiring up to six arms to achieve a complete range of motion. But now engineers at the Johns Hopkins University have laid the groundwork for robots with increased flexibility and accuracy by developing a spherical motor that can turn 360 degrees. Operating more like a shoulder joint than the elbow joints of current design, the prototype comprises 16 electromagnets arranged around a hollow sphere. When activated by a software-controlled electrical signal, the electromagnets attract 80 permanent magnets located inside the sphere, thereby causing motion. Within five years, the motor may be used in omnidirectional wheels, robotic cameras and even a smart computer mouse, directed by software agents. -V. Herrera
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything
Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of
The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.