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Tufts to develop morphing 'chemical robots'

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posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 05:48 PM

Tufts to develop morphing 'chemical robots'

Scientists at Tufts University have received a $3.3 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop chemical robots that will be so soft and squishy that they will be able to squeeze into spaces as tiny as 1 centimeter, then morph back into something 10 times larger, and ultimately biodegrade.

The advantages of using unmanned devices to conduct dangerous or difficult operations are clear, and the U.S. has invested in such devices for years. But today's rigid robots, constructed mostly of hard materials, are unable to navigate complex environments with openings of arbitrary size and shape. They are stymied by, say, a building whose only access points may be a crack under a door or a conduit for an electrical cable.
(visit the link for the full news article)

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posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 05:48 PM
DARPA is certainly no stranger to some of the most advanced, but somewhat odd projects. These squishy caterpillar robots sound intriguing, and besides the obvious benefit of using such devices for dangerous operations, I wonder what else they could be used for...

According to one of the articles above,

This ChemBots award is the latest in a series of DARPA project awards iRobot has won within the past 10 years. DARPA initially approached iRobot in 1998 to create the PackBot for its Tactical Mobile Robot program.
IRobot also makes the popular Roomba vacuuming robot and the iRobot Verro Pool Cleaning machine.

Pool cleaning robot caterpillars?

I don't know about ya'll, but some of DARPA's projects scare me.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 08:30 PM
The robots DARPA makes freak me out.

If AI is ever invented the robots will be ready.

ever seen that 4 legged robot mule on youtube?

posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 02:20 AM
reply to post by Grey Magic

oh yeah that scared the hell out of me...that thing just the way it moved...sent chills down my spine...

posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 11:01 AM
I couldn't sleep a few days after I seen it.

This way it will be easy to create robot armies

posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 01:47 PM
I'm not sure if you should give them that much credit, lol.

Even if they manage to create some form of "squishy" frame by which a machine can alter its physiology to get through confined spaces... the intricate nature of controlling such movements would severely limit it's capability to perform tasks other than just changing shape.

The amount of research and development required for something like this would be astronomical. Not to mention, it sounds like they've forgotten which century they live in.

As for the robotic dog, or "mule", yeah, thats interesting and all, but it was a pretty long anticipated advancement in pedal movement. I wasn't exactly surprised by it.

Now, as for robot armies... as far as it goes at the moment, AI simply isn't there. Sure, theres some VERY clever programmers out there who could make some intriguingly responsive programmed actions for the machines, but as it stands now, there will always be an operator sitting somewhere calling the shots, or even beside it marking targets, or acting as it's "leader". And as such, a chain of responsibility ensues.

The number one enemy of war machines will be the jammer. If the machine can't get it's instructions, or tell it's friends from it's foes. It ceases to be a useful option to the military deploying it.

It will be even more interesting when the hackers start getting into it. Tapping into the signal controlling it, and giving it instructions the original operator doesn't want it to follow, or even giving it instructions that simply crash the on board computer.
Think about it, if the operator is sending a signal to the machine, then they're broadcasting it openly. Which means you can listen to it, decipher it, and use it for yourself.

This, and hundreds of other reasons are why humans will still be the main force on the battlefield.

On another note, AI used for warfare wouldn't turn out too well either. True AI means it has independent choice. What incentive could you possibly give an AI to go fight for you?
It would no longer be "Here's your target, go."
It would become "Here's a long spiel on why you should do what I'm asking, I hope you agree... please don't hurt me."

posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 02:27 PM
Sorry for the double post but...

Did they just seriously say "and ultimately biodegrade"?

... uh... what?

This definitely sounds like some previously genius inventor just crossed the thin line of insanity.
And they're funding it?

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