Robotics Current Affairs

Scientists create world’s first molecular robot

Scientists from University of Manchester have created world’s first ‘molecular robot’ — millionth of a millimetre in size. It can be used to build molecules and may help discover novel drugs.

Key Facts

The molecular robot is millionth of millimetre in size. It is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms which are basic building blocks required to form molecules. It can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo using a tiny robotic arm.

The molecular robot operates by carrying out chemical reactions in special solutions which can then be controlled and programmed by scientists to perform the basic tasks. It responds to series of simple commands that are programmed with chemical inputs.

Each individual robot is capable of manipulating single molecule. In terms of size context, billion of these molecular robots piled on top of each other will be only same size as a single grain of salt.

Significance: The molecular robot is so small, that it massively reduces demand for materials, dramatically reduce power requirements and can accelerate and improve drug discovery and rapidly increase the miniaturisation of other products.

Potential applications: Such molecular robots can be used for medical purposes, advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines.


Scientists develop new software that can crate 3D models from 2D photographs

Scientists including one of Indian origin have developed new artificial intelligence (AI) software called SurfNet that can create three dimensional (3D) models from 2D photographs.

When fully developed SurfNet could have significant applications in the fields of 3D searches on the internet researchers. In an advance version it can allow future robots to navigate in the real world.

Key Facts

SurfNet software using hundreds of thousands of 2D shapes of objects can reconstruct it model in 3D. It utilizes machine learning to analyze 2D shapes and convert them into projected 3D forms. In addition to transforming 2D shapes, the technology can also merge two shapes into one another. The technology becomes more refined over time as the AI learns more about the shapes.

Future potential application: It can be used in robotics, object recognition and even self-driving cars. SurfNet will give them ability to understand the 3D environment around them using standard 2D cameras. It can also be used to create 3D content for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by simply using standard 2D photos.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. In contrast to normal hardware and software, AI enables a machine to perceive and respond to its changing environment.