Archive for the 'Robots' Category

Military develops ghoul robots

This can’t go wrong:

From the file marked “Evidently, many scientists have never seen even one scary sci-fi movie,” the U.S. Defense Department is funding research into battlefield robots that fuel themselves by eating human corpses. What could possibly go wrong?

Since they apparently don’t own TVs or DVD players, researchers at Robotic Technology, Inc. are developing battlefield machines that can fuel themselves with collected organic matter. The experts say such fuel “could” include human corpses, but if you picked up anything on flesh-eating robots over the years you know they’ll ignore that tasty soybean field and make a chow line right to the nearest corpse. And, if the machines can’t find enough dead people to eat, they can always make new ones.

But can they fly?

Because if they can, it’s time to head back to the lab and get working on those flying robot monkeys!

From the NYT: Monkeys Control a Robot Arm With Their Thoughts.


Robotic flying saucers

U.S. military gives contract to build a fleet of robotic flying saucers.

The “flight duration and payload are still limited,” on GFS’ saucer, the company notes. Right now, the firm “is now focused on optimising fan, motors and canopy specifications, with a view to having a commercially solid range of capabilities by 2008. Applications could range from “close quarter surveillance and intelligence gathering” to “shark watch” and “toy.”

Shouldn’t robotic flying saucers be for more nefarious purposes?

Slinky robots

From The New York Times:

MEDFORD, Mass. — The robot lies dissected on the black slab of a lab table, its silicone rubber exterior spread and flattened like a trophy snakeskin. Hair-thin wires run in a zigzag line along the inner length of its pale artificial flesh.

Barry Trimmer flicks a small switch and the wires contract, causing the silicone to bunch up; the skin crawls, so to speak.

So does mine.

“It’s very organic,” Dr. Trimmer says with a smile. Apparently, “organic” is a technical euphemism for “creepy.” But it is eerily lifelike, and that is the point.

Robots, once the stuff of science fiction, are everywhere. Robotic geologists are puttering around on Mars, little Roombas suck up dirt in the breakfast nook. But most robots are made up of hard components and don’t much resemble the creatures that walk, crawl and squirm all around us.

At Tufts University, a multidisciplinary team of researchers wants to take a softer approach. The Biomimetic Technologies for Soft-bodied Robots project is trying to make an ersatz caterpillar that will move around in pretty much the same way as the real thing. The researchers see the potential to use the squishable, relatively simple creations to find land mines, repair machinery in hard-to-reach spots and even diagnose and treat diseases.

Mr. Universe’s robot wife and the Buffybot are not that far away…unless such things already walk among us.

BTW, this might be the first post ever in the history of the Internets where the “creepy crawly” and “robots” tags were used in the same post. I would check, but I don’t want to get something stuck in the Tubes.

Russian military to use giant robots

Russian President Vladimir Putin answered questions sent in by Internet users. From The Moscow Times:

The two journalists who hosted the 130-minute webcast had largely ignored the top-rated questions submitted online from around the world, focusing instead on foreign and domestic policy issues.

“Yes, we will use the latest technical devices. Already now they are being stationed, for example, in the southern parts of our country,” Putin said when reporters asked him after the conference whether Russia planned to use “gigantic, humanoid war robots” to defend itself.

Asked to elaborate about what he meant, Putin said: “These are unmanned aerial vehicles. And maybe the time will come for gigantic robots. However, so far we have put our main hope on people — namely border guards,” Putin said, Kommersant reported.

Asked about the possible awakening of the giant mythical octopus Cthulhu, the fourth-most popular question among the more than 150,000 sent to Putin, he said that he believed something more serious was behind the question. Cthulhu was invented by novelist H.P. Lovecraft and was said to be sleeping beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Putin said he viewed mysterious forces with suspicion and advised those who took them seriously to read the Bible, Koran or other religious books.

Notice Putin did not deny Cthulhu’s rising. The former KGB also did not reveal whether the giant humanoid robots will be employed to take on Cthulhu when the terrible, tentacled one awakens. Probably because he knows the robots will be in capable of defending humanity from our ocean-dwelling doom.

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