Bots gone wild

November 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
inflatable walking robot

A 15 foot inflatable walking robot, the Ant-Roach (credit: Otherlab)

Introducing random — a new, occasional blog category for stuff that’s way too weird for our regular weird posts. Like these wacky robot stories:

Wanna take a ride on a 15-foot-long inflatable walking robot named Ant-Roach (as in anteater-cockroach)? Um, maybe not, but hey, “human safe” bots are not a bad idea, especially if you plan to have one in your home, with kids. A future Disney attraction?

prison guard robot

Robot prison guard prototype (credit: Yonhap)

OK, then, how about about “humane and friendly” robot prison guards that can identify “abnormal behavior”? A jail in South Korea plans to run a month-long trial with three of them, a $863,000 project. (How long will it take hacker inmates to convert them into Terminator bots?)

And then there’s OCCU(PI) Bot, carrying a sign that reads “if(justice) == 0 } occup(pi) = 1;” (get it?)  — “the first in a promising line of tireless, unstoppable, robotic class warriors,” complete with a megaphone and optional Arduino — so you could, let’s say, control it via  the Internet (“remote occupying”?).

OCCU(PI) Bot (credit: Randy Sarafan)

Hmm, I wonder if it’s pepper-spray-resistant?

Meanwhile, the 1% will be happy to know that restaurants around the world will soon use new “DNA barcoding” technology to assure finicky patrons they are being served the genuine fish fillet they ordered, rather than inferior substitutes, AP reports. The biennial International Barcode of Life Conference is being held Monday to discuss compilation of a global reference library for the Earth’s 1.8 million known species; the Barcode of Life Database so far includes more than 167,000 species. (Could prevent illness too.)

Speaking of anarchy,  in case you believe the end of the world is nigh, The Guardian has compiled a doomsday list of “Strange ways to go” and their signs, such as: “If the Earth exists in a region of space known as a false vacuum, it could collapse into a lower-energy state at any point….

Sign: it could happen half way through this…”

And New Scientist has its own list of cracks in reality, including the recent finding that mesons decay differently from their antimatter counterparts (that’s why we have more matter than antimatter), which would call into question the standard model of particle physics; and a now-accepted belief in the existence of multiple universes — maybe 10500 of them, or maybe an infinite number. The answer could be hiding in the cosmic microwave background, currently being mapped at higher precision by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite.

We now return you to our normal weird news.