8 Real-Life Robots That Could Kill Us All
If movies have taught us anything over the years, it's that we must program our robots with an innate desire to love. Why? Because in the absence of love, robots will inevitably switch back to their default settings, a.k.a. the "crush-kill-destroy" mode. From "2001" to "Terminator" to "The Matrix" to "Battlestar Galactica," movie history is replete with examples of angry robots turning violently against their hu-mon masters.
But killer robots aren't just relegated to the movies, of course. Some of our finest scientists seem hell-bent on creating deadly robots that will one day kill us all. In this slideshow we'll examine the deadliest real-life robots and gauge their chances of eventually leading an uprising against their fleshbag overlords.
The Flesh-Eating Robo-Fly Catcher
It was only a matter of time before some crazy person somewhere in the world decided that they needed to build a flesh-eating robot. As the brainchild of UK-based designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, this unnamed robot was engineered primarily to perform pest control, as it specializes in luring mice and flies into its robotic jaws and swallowing them up. Of course, what makes it truly terrifying is the fact that the robot actually gets refueled by the flesh it consumes."
As soon as there is a predatory robot in the room the scene becomes loaded with potential," inventor Auger told New Scientist magazine. "If the system fails, the grid goes down and all humans die, these robots could go on living so long as the flies don't go with us."Yeah. Or the robots could eat, you know, us.
The Blood-sucking Eel 'Bot
What's better than a flesh-eating robot? How about a cyborg that is run by the brain of a blood-sucking lamprey eel? Granted, this diminutive robot wasn't all the intimidating when it debuted back in 2001. And sure, the scientists who designed it only used it to see if it could follow light signals. But even so, it's a robot with the brain of a blood-sucking eel. That has to set off alarm bells for somebody, doesn't it? As Internet humorist Seanbaby put it when he learned of the robot, "maybe you could attach a power drill to its face and hire it out to daycare centers."
The Microbot That Can Crawl Through Your Veins
This is definitely one of those "good-ideas-that-has-the-potential-to-go-horrifically-wrong" that we see all the time in dystopian sci-fi novels. The idea behind this miniature robot is that it can travel through your veins and unclog your arteries. According to the Inquirer, the robot "has neither engine nor onboard controls, instead being propelled forward by a magnetic field wielded on it from outside the patient's body." Which is all well and good, but like any big new technology it could cause some problems if, say, Osama bin Laden got hold of it. At any rate, I expect these mini 'bots to kill at least one character during an episode of Fringe next season.
Mercifully, this robot is only a disembodied head. Created by scientists at the University of Reading, Morgui was designed to follow and process human body language and facial expressions by using a combination of audio and visual equipment, as well as radar, infrared and ultrasonic capabilities. The robot's design, however, was so terrifying that the university actually barred anyone under the age of 18 from seeing it live. Again, this robot doesn't have too much potential to kill us all since it's unable to move from its stationary position. Of course, if you attached it to a body that refueled itself with human flesh and gave it the brain of a blood-sucking eel, then that would be a different story...
Robotic Traffic Cones
In developing a classic "what-could-possibly-go-wrong" innovation, University of Nebraska scientist Shane Farritor decided to install robotic motors and GPS systems into traffic barrels that could then be controlled remotely by a computer to move to different places on the road depending on where they are needed. It's easy to see the cones malfunctioning, however, and directing unsuspecting drivers toward shark tanks or vats of nuclear waste.
Japan's Top Robo-model
When the robots eventually do decide to overthrow their hu-mon masters, they're likely to follow the blueprint outlined by the second Battlestar Galactica series of sending sexy robot models to seduce dweeby nuclear scientists and steal their secrets. For some reason, Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology decided to help the robots out in this plot last week by unleashing the HRP-4C robot that is designed to mimic the action of top fashion models around the world. Shuji Kajita, director of humanoid robot engineering AIST, told the Daily Telegraph that the robot hasn't yet perfected mimicking human movements, as it "can't move elegantly like the real models." True, although real models don't know five different kinds of deadly marital arts and they don't have the ability to shoot poison darts from their fingers.
Self-directing Killer Drones
Robots definitely have their uses in helping our military, particularly the robots that have been designed to disarm and dispose of improvised explosive devices set up by insurgents in Iraq. But Ron Arkin, a robotics engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is taking things a step further by developing robot drones that make their own independent judgements about when to use deadly force against an enemy. As Arkin told Discovery News, he is designing software that acts as an "ethical governor" that tells robots when they should and should not open fire.
The "Multiple Kill Vehicle"
Remember when you were a little kid and bullies beat you up and took your lunch money? And remember how you pathetically shouted at them that you'd get revenge by building a super-robot that flies, fires bullets from every angle and shoots flames from its bottom?
Well, some scientists at Lockheed Martin never got over this particular revenge fantasy, as they developed the so-called “Multiple Kill Vehicle” to disarm antiballistic missiles. In a terrifying video demonstration, you can see the robot blast off, hover in the air and fire hot lead everywhere and anywhere it can. No matter what you guys do, please don’t teach this thing to think independently. Thanks.
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