Researchers at the University of Liverpool have built an intelligent mobile robot scientist that can work 24-7, carrying out experiments by itself.
The robot scientist, the first of its kind, makes its own decisions about which chemistry experiments to perform next, and has already discovered a new catalyst.
It has humanoid dimensions and works in a standard laboratory, using instruments much like a human researcher does. However, unlike a human, this 400 kg robot has infinite patience, can think in 10 dimensions, and works for 21.5 hours each day, pausing only to recharge its battery.
This new technology could tackle problems of a scale and complexity that are currently beyond our grasp. For example, autonomous robots could find materials for clean energy production or new drug formulations by searching vast, unexplored chemical spaces.
Robots have been used before in chemistry research, but they are typically hardwired to a specific experiment. This 1.75-meter tall robot is mobile and can roam around the laboratory, performing a wide range of different tasks.