The robots are here. An eagle-sized quadcopter flew above a wooded Schuylkill river bank, counting trees as it was designed to do in the forests of the Andes.
Other robots swam underwater, where their hoops of mesh-like material billowed like jellyfish as they took pictures or searched for watercraft.
Still others swarmed like mosquitoes, reading the landscape with GPS to find landing targets. Or they were seen wheeling and running, on four legs and two, as if practicing to further automate Amazon’s warehouses.
The glory of robots in action was on full display this week in the halls and parking lots at Pennovation, the former paint factory on Grays Ferry Avenue that houses the University of Pennsylvania’s engineering labs. Robots of various stripes and sizes also appeared at the Penn medical school, the nearby Singh Center for Nanotechnology, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Penn students, professors, and business partners — along with the world’s top robotic…