The Second Coming of the Robot Pet

Mita Yun didn’t get into robotics to save the world. The lunar rovers she built as a student at Carnegie Mellon, and the software she developed as an engineer for Google—that stuff was just practice. The things Yun really wanted to make were friends. Yun had hungered for companionship since she was a little girl in China. She’d begged her parents for a pet, but no dice. These were the days of China’s one-child policy, so no sibling either. Instead, Yun’s parents filled her room with a menagerie of stuffed animals, which she liked to imagine springing to life, their little paws dancing on her bedspread, their little bodies stuffed with possibilities. In 2017, Yun quit her job at Google …

Robocrop: world’s first raspberry-picking robot set to work

Autonomous machine expected to pick more than 25,000 raspberries a day, outpacing human workers Quivering and hesitant, like a spoon-wielding toddler trying to eat soup without spilling it, the worlds first raspberry-picking robot is attempting to harvest one of the fruits. After sizing it up for an age, the robot plucks the fruit with its gripping arm and gingerly deposits it into a waiting punnet. The whole process takes about a minute for a single berry. It seems like heavy going for a robot that cost 700,000 to develop but, if all goes to plan, this is the future of fruit-picking. Each robot will be able to pick more than 25,000 raspberries a day, outpacing human workers who manage about …