Now this cannot be avoided. Semi-intelligent, can go on for 24-hours straight and carries weapons.
Start your stock-piling now.
Robocalypse Alert: Defense Contract Awarded to Scary BigDog
BY Kit Eaton
You remember BigDog, don’t you? It’s that loud all-terrain prototype robot quadruped that peopled your dreams with Terminator-esque nightmares when you saw the video. DARPA just awarded a $32 million contract to build it.
The contract’s been won by maker Boston Dynamics, which has just 30 months to turn the research prototype machines into a genuine load-toting, four-legged, semi-intelligent war robot–“first walk-out” of the newly-designated LS3 is scheduled in 2012.
LS3 stands for Legged Squad Support System, and that pretty much sums up what the device is all about: It’s a semi-autonomous assistant designed to follow soldiers and Marines across the battlefield, carrying up to 400 pounds of gear and enough fuel to keep it going for 24 hours over a march of 20 miles.
To remind you of the tech we’re talking about, here’s BigDog in a disarmingly “cute” promo video, kicking it on a beach in Thailand:
LS3 is a direct descendant of BigDog, and it’ll be battle-hardened and clever enough to use GPS and machine vision to either yomp along behind a pack of troops, or navigate its own way to a pre-programmed assembly point. Yup, that’s right, LS3 is smart enough to trot off over the horizon all on its lonesome. That opens up all sorts of amazing military possibilities, like resupply of materiel to troops who are deployed in difficult remote locations, as well as the standard “If LS3 can offload 50 pounds from the back of each soldier in a squad, it will reduce warfighter injuries and fatigue and increase the combat effectiveness of our troops” as described by BD’s president Marc Raibert.
And its clear that these, and other, potential benefits have been proven to DARPA enough that it’s prepared to fund what seems to be an extremely future-focused piece of military hardware. But LS3, of course, stands for much more than its simple “squad support” label would suggest. It’s placing artificially-intelligent robots right next to soldiers on the battle field, which is a natural extension of the way robots are currently used in combat–essentially as smart remote control units for situations too dangerous for a human to risk. And in that sense, LS3 is a significant piece of kit. Because it won’t be too long before someone considers the benefits of replacing its 400-pound load with a heavy gun, and LS32 becomes an AI-equipped armed battlefield robot. More terminator-dog than K9, you see.
Here’s BigDog auto-tracking a human, just to give you an extra robocalyptic chill:
nice picture of a the super-hot chick from LOST as a robot-assassin who just spotted me.
Gotta go, sorry…
Maybe I was wrong about fearing the imminent robot uprising. Look at this! The most advanced android I’ve seen in action and the first thing they teach it to do is… mime??
Lol, toss a few baguettes it’s way and it’ll settle down and let you occupy it’s docking station until the Allies come through and clean up. No need to worry here.
Talk about your easily accomplished warnings. This is something I’d do anyways. No way I’m going to be the first kill in the imminent robot-uprising. Don’t you imagine the first kill is the most sloppy, anyways, just like the first pancake of the batch. I’m going to take a pass and agree to let the robot ride solo.
(interesting side-theory: The “robot” in question is the android-baby that wicked-old christian slater is holding.)
From TIME’s SciTechBlog: (scroll down for commentary…)
Posted: 03:01 PM ET
What can operate in temperatures above the melting point of iron (1,538 degrees Celsius) and below the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees Celsius)?
A sheet strip of carbon nanotube aerogel: The muscles of the future? Courtesy University of Texas
Answer: Artificial muscles made up of carbon nanotubes.
I’m sure that was the first thing that came to mind, right?
This is the latest innovation coming out of the field of carbon nanotechnology.
The application of these microscopic carbon tube structures has peaked the interest of many engineers and scientists in recent years. Individual carbon nanotubes can measure in at roughly 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, don’t let their size fool you.
They can be as stiff as steel and can have very high thermal and electrical conductivities. But getting them to work in tandem with each other has been a challenge for scientists.
Using a material called aerogel (a type of gel in which the liquid portion has been replaced with gas to create a low-density solid), researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas’ Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute have found a way to make carbon nanotubes work together in extreme temperatures — such as those found in space. Their findings will be published in this week’s Science journal.
These carbon nanotube sheets or aerogels have properties unlike any other raw material. Individual carbon nanotubes have been woven together to make interconnected bundles that collectively give the sheet its unique properties. By injecting charges into the carbon nanotube sheet, scientists create repulsion between the individual nanotubes, causing the material to contract.
Artificial muscles have similarities to human muscles but are usually electroactive polymers whose shape can be modified when voltage is applied. These artificial muscles are capable of providing 30 times the force and contracting 1,000 times faster than human skeletal muscles.
“My guess is that this story will have a happy ending in terms of new products that benefit humankind,” said Dr. Ray Baughman, director of the NanoTech Institute.
The applications of these artificial muscles stretches far beyond the walls of the lab. You can expect to see them at work someday in medical devices, fuel cells, aerospace and even robots.
Here’s what immediately scares me
- can operate in temperatures above the melting point of iron (1,538 degrees Celsius) and below the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees Celsius)
- These artificial muscles are capable of providing 30 times the force and contracting 1,000 times faster than human skeletal muscles.
- Individual carbon nanotubes can measure in at roughly 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair
Whoever that fool was that said “My guess is that this story will have a happy ending in terms of new products that benefit humankind,” has clearly never seen The Matrix. Yeah, let’s help make robots that we can’t freeze or melt and can crush our skeletons! Great, where do I sign up?! Seriously, wtf folks! Really, the only good thing I can see here is a possibility for a real-life Wolverine, and even that has it’s up’s and down’s.
And they can git 10,000 of them in the width of a human hair. Those shits can get anywhere. Great, now on top of Bacon Scrotum we all have to fear the probability of 10,000 nano-Wolverines invading our bodies.
You’re Welcome for the heads-up.