From spinal surgery to search and rescue, robotics are poised to assist people in tasks big and small. Here are some of the latest across industries, including one that will begin testing this summer — the FedEx SameDay Bot.
Medtronic Mazor X
Earlier this year, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, put the country’s newest spinal surgery robotic navigation system to work. Originally made by Israel-based Mazor Robotics, which was acquired by health device giant Medtronic in December 2018, the system assists surgeons in positioning traditional surgical tools. The result is more precise and efficient — and less invasive — surgery. With a price tag under $1 million, the system is quickly making its way into operating rooms around the world.
Soft Robotics mGrip
Just Born Quality Confections makes approximately 2 billion Peeps marshmallow treats a year. But there’s demand for even more. So last summer, the company began installing Soft Robotics mGrip machines at its factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The mGrip’s soft “finger” design can carefully handle the delicate treat without damaging it — at a speed that will help boost production. The technology bodes well for handling food that’s not only fragile but irregular in size, too, such as produce.
PaR Systems Friction Stir Welding Machines
United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket will make its maiden voyage to the International Space Station in 2020. An important force in fueling that mission, quite literally: liquid fuel tanks fused together by PaR Systems friction stir welding machines. The robotic technology behind this particular form of welding creates joints that are stronger, thinner and lighter than what can be made using conventional solder welding. It also shaves time off the rocket production schedule, eliminating pinholes and cracks in the seams that would otherwise require careful repair.
MAVlab DelFly Nimble
The newest and most agile flying robot from this company that’s part of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands can hover or fly up, down, forward, backward and sideways. Its design mimics that of a fruit fly and comes with four wings that beat 17 times per second — but without a tail, which would make it more vulnerable to damage. Capable of being outfitted with small sensors and carrying a compact, lightweight camera system with a live video feed, the Nimble can perform a number of tasks, the most critical of which looks to be search-and-rescue efforts.
How many pounds of payload the FedEx SameDay Bot can handle
FedEx SameDay Bot
The FedEx SameDay Bot introduced in February 2019 begins test runs of short-distance, same-day deliveries in select U.S. cities this summer. Developed in collaboration with world-renowned inventor Dean Kamen — whose company, DEKA Research & Development Corp., is perhaps best known for creating the Segway — the bot weighs under 200 pounds without cargo and can handle up to 100 pounds of payload. It also has the ability to navigate rough terrain, including hills and small flights of steps to a home’s front porch, and its gyroscopic technology keeps cargo level. Learn more at fedex.com/thefuture.