AI

Catbots

http://deviceguru.com/us-military-funds-development-of-humanoid-and-felinoid-robots/

"Boston Dynamics says Cheetah will feature “four legs, a flexible spine, an articulated head/neck, and possibly a tail. It will run fast: faster than any existing legged robot and faster than the fastest human runners. In addition to top speed, the Cheetah robot will be designed to make tight turns so it can zigzag to chase or evade, and it will accelerate rapidly, starting and stopping on a dime.”"

There's just a 3D rendering plus photos of a headless, clunky-looking precursor to the article's humanoid bots.
AI

Quadruped Robot Development

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/02/20/048256/DARPA-Puts-32M-Toward-Quadruped-Robot-Prototype
http://www.gizmag.com/darpa-lc3-robot-quadruped/14256/

Here's a report on the continued development of quadruped robots for the military. The earlier "BigDog" prototype was pretty impressive; judging from YouTube videos it was able to walk around and recover from falls, but was clunky and loud.

I'm rooting for taurs. =)
AI

"Eater" Robot

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,532492,00.html

This somewhat disturbing report describes a military robot designed to forage.

"A steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find — grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies... The advantages to the military are that the robot would be extremely flexible in fuel sources and could roam on its own for months, even years, without having to be refueled or serviced."

Although the concept is interesting, it's not practical. It'd be something like having individual soldiers carry a complete five-star kitchen, each. Why bother building an elaborate fuel generation system into an individual robot, as opposed to having a stand-alone generator that powers any electrical device that needs it? The article's excuse for adding all that dead weight to a robot is that it'll be able to travel autonomously for "months or years". And when will we have a mission where we can't send in support troops or equipment for a robot -- due to secrecy? -- but we *can* send a big clankin' mechanical carnivore?

The proposed "Mars Direct" space colonization system would use a fuel generator on the Martian surface -- not for organics, of course -- but that system would sit there and be available to power a manned habitat and vehicles rather than moving on its own.

This research is probably a descendant of the "SlugBot" concept robot developed years ago. When I learned that some environmentalists oppose wind power because the blades kill birds and bats, I proposed killing both with one stone by making the windmills carnivorous.

In fiction: There's a free, indie PC game with anthro-bunnies, called "Cave Story". (It's very good; Nintendo just picked it up for its Wii system.) One theory of its plot is that its Ridiculously Human Robot characters were designed for long-term autonomous survival, to the point of having recognizable gender. Also, The Onion just reported on the Pentagon's loss of funding for a giant robot dragon, which would have "made destroying enemies both efficient and awesome".
cyberwuff

My eye is a camera

"Rob Spence looks you straight in the eye when he talks. So it's a little unnerving to imagine that soon one of his hazel-green eyes will have a tiny wireless video camera in it that records your every move.

The eye he's considering replacing is not a working one -- it's a prosthetic eye he's worn for several years. Spence, a 36-year-old Canadian filmmaker, is not content with having one blind eye. He wants a wireless video camera inside his prosthetic, giving him the ability to make movies wherever he is, all the time, just by looking around.

"If you lose your eye and have a hole in your head, then why not stick a camera in there?" he asks.

eyeborg_660x.jpg

Spence, who calls himself the "eyeborg guy," will not be restoring his vision. The camera won't connect to his brain. What it will do is allow him to be a bionic man where technology fuses with the human body to become inseparable. In effect, he will become a "little brother," someone who's watching and recording every move of those in his field of vision...
"
Full article

Thanks to furahi for pointing me to this article.

X-posted to science_porn