Cyberpunk Review » Hungry, Hungry Robots

January 31, 2009

Hungry, Hungry Robots

Sources: Slashdot, Reuters

Robot Eat Cat

This should give you an idea of what DARPA’s latest robot nightmare project is about; The EATR Project seeks to create robots that can “consume” organic matter for fuel.

Appetite for Destruction. A Potomac, MD, US company called Robotic Technologies Inc. (RTI) has just contracted Florida-based Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. to develop engines for a new DARPA robot project. These engines will use biomass as their fuel source. Doesn’t sound like major news… unless you know that the project is called EATR: Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR(TM)).

The EATR is an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance military missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling. The system is designed to obtain its energy by foraging — engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. The patent pending robotic system can find, ingest and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil and solar) when suitable.

In other words, the EATR-bots will power itself by doing something nature has been doing for millions of years: Ingest “food” by grazing (herbivore), hunting (carnivore), and/or scavenging. A PDF presentation of the project can be found/downloaded here.


Terabytes… or TERROR BITES? It’s not hard to imagine a pack of hungry, hungry robots being let loose in a densely populated area like a big city or a Midwest farm where their appetites can cause a major catastrophe, unless you program them to not eat certain targets. They can also be used in “clean-up” work such as clearing brush to prevent or control forest fires, cleaning up landfills, or even the recent turmoil in Gaza…

Then you have to figure what the kooks at PETA may try to do to “convince” the EATRs to go vegan. Maybe a spin-off like RETHA: Robots for the Ethical Treatment of Humans and Animals? And it may also lead to another question: What sauce do you use to serve a PETA member to an EATR?

EATR Warning Sign

I ate that PETA branch with some fava beans and a nice chianti. They had flava’. Om nom nom nom nom nom!
This post has been filed under Rise of the Robots, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.


January 31, 2009

Klaw said:

And a robot that eats cats is bad how?

Diligent Ape said:

Can’t wait to see footage of man-eating robots on the battlefield; as long as they can kill, they can live.

Immortal_Peregrin said:

Now the robots have a motivation to kill all humans…

February 1, 2009

cream said:

teh end is near

Mr No 1 said:

Hm, they are like the Delorian from Back To The Future II/III…

BTW, I, being a man (woman, preferably) eating vegan, can tell you that there’s no best sauce that your own… Bloodstains are a nightmare to wash off though.
But I don’t think you can make PETA member taste better no matter what.

February 2, 2009

KBlack said:

Another clever acronym. *sigh*

February 4, 2009

Bax said:

This is some serious creepy shit.

At least they won’t be able to reproduce….for now……

February 10, 2009

SolidFake said:

Can anyone reupload the presentation pdf file please? The link doesn’t work in my case.
I lol’d hard at this issue, but robots wouldn’t extinct us completeley, what should they eat then? At first they will extinct all lower creatures like animals which aren’t able to defend them and at last they will capture humans and put them into a Mc Donalds……as products, lol Imagine a humanBurger
lol, Wiener wurstel, Wiener Schnitel, frakfurters and hamburgers will make a sense then!

February 22, 2009

LKani said:

You know, instead of eating our food, why can’t they just get energy from wind power? (Not THAT kind, I mean “breathing” that powers turbines!)

SolidFake said:

That’s a good idea, but I guess it isn’t powerful enough.
Wind turbines are driven by the wind, but if the robots need to turn their power turbines, they will need to create wind by themselves, so they wouldn’t gain really much energy because they will need to use a lot of energy to make them turn.
Sure they could also stand in the wind, but food can be eaten everywhere, natural wind doesn’t exist everywhere. Food can be taken with you, wind can’t.

Does anyone still have this pdf presentation file?
I’m really interested in the technical issue but it seems that is down since some time :(

July 21, 2009

Naty llas said:

“But the group reiterated that it would be illegal to create a robot that used dead bodies for energy.” ??? That’s what people do, use dead bodies for energy, what’s the difference? Ah, I get it, we want to keep the top of the food pyramid for ourselves =)

I don’t understand what’s so outrageous about a robot eating dead soldiers for energy. We already waste a los of resources burying our dead instead of consuming them.

July 25, 2009

SolidFake said:

Sure it would be cool if we could let the robots eat the dead bodies, but there are two problems:
1) Would you like that your body gets eaten by a robot after you died?
2) What if we build too much robots for too less dead bodies? The robots would start to get hungry and guess what they will eat next to dead humans…

July 27, 2009

Defwheezer said:

We reported on this tech being used in Iraq almost a full year ago (Sept 2008, well prior to the recently declassified report)… welcome to the Future!

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