3 Oct 2014

The Dark Side of Drones

Post by Helaine Becker

So followers of this blog know I'm keen on robots. I love the brilliant application of design for practical purposes.

But now the dark side. Which is that a goodly percentage of robots/drones etc. have been, and continue to be designed for military and surveillance purposes.

This is a good thing, if the devices are being used to defend and protect YOU. But it is also, yes, fraught with peril. When a government goes bad... or when you find yourself on the wrong side of any government. Heck, we've all seen the Terminator movies.

So now for your squirmy, gut-clenchy viewing pleasure, the 5 top military robots now under development.

5. Robot Mules  

Photo: Boston Dynamics

The U.S. Military naturally wants to limit the number of boots on the ground. And wheels too. These robotic workhorses were designed to assist in that endeavor.

While they are not armed, they still strike terror in my heart. Partly because I wrote metallic robotic horses into my dystopian futuristic novel Gottika  - before I'd even seen these.  Eeep!

4. Speedah Cheetah

DARPA, the US research agency that develops robotics, says this one could aid in bomb disposal. I'm thinking about how I would very much not like to have a fleet of these incredibly fast metalloid creatures chasing me because I stole a loaf of bread.
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Photo: Boston Dynamics

3. SWAT Team?
Talk about eye in the sky. This miniature drone can be buzzing past your ear and videoing your every move. 
A completed 'Mobee' on a US quarter, created using PC-MEMS.

2. Uncle Sam

You won't be safe from surveillance indoors either. Uncle Sam, the snakebot developed at Carnegie Mellon University, can slither up drainpipes to snap photos of you via your plumbing.

Robot snake automatically wraps around an object when thrown (w/ Video)
Photo: Carnegie Mellon

1. Creepiest of all. 

Robot cockroaches. That can influence other cockroaches to do their bidding. Think this one through - if you can persuade cockroaches to follow a robot....could you persuade people? Me thinks yes. 


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