Continuing the US military’s focus on developing robots that mimic animals, the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center and Office of Naval Research has funded a project that has already produced a prototype of a giant robotic jellyfish.
Other research includes insect-like drones capable of carrying out lethal missions, a silent drone inspired by owls, bird-like drones already used in the field, an amazingly fast robot modeled after a cheetah, a strange animal-like walking drone and more lifelike humanoid robots that can approach animal and human efficiency.
The prototype robotic jellyfish, dubbed “Cyro,” is 5 foot 7 inches, weighs in at 170 pounds and was created under a project funded by a $5 million grant.
The grant was funded by the same agency behind the insanely fast, GPS-guided projectile program, so while it may sound great that it could “be used to keep tabs on ecologically-sensitive underwater areas or to help clean up oil spills,” the reality is that the military applications will obviously be given priority.
The military doesn’t spend millions to develop robots just to help keep the environment clean, though the Virginia Tech promotional video (embedded below) does list “military surveillance” as the first possible application.
“Imagine a fully-realized version of such a robot running underwater surveillance missions for the U.S. Navy — the marine version of a weaponless drone, in other words, perhaps poking around someone’s oceanfront property (or, heaven forbid, employed in a civilian capacity by ignoble paparazzi to stalk celebrities),” writes Matt Peckham for Time. “Cool, but a little creepy, right?”
“We intend to leave it in the ocean for as long as we can. So we’re talking weeks and months, and even more if we can,” said Alex Villanueva, a graduate student at Virginia Tech working on the project.
This jellyfish-like design would also have a massive advantage in terms of stealth, according to Danger Room.
“Mimicking a natural animal found in a region allows you to explore a lot better,” Villanueva said.
Galaxy Poll: 86 per cent of Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory? 2015-04-17 23:33
Australians want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make childhood vaccination compulsory and close loopholes that allow vaccine refusers to put all children at risk.
An exclusive national Galaxy poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed overwhelming support to ensure every child is vaccinated.
The highest support for compulsory jabs is in South Australia, where 90 per cent support the call.
The poll ...
Eye in the sky: Local police now using drones to spy on citizens 2015-04-17 22:09
The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is doing something that no other agency in Harris County is believed to have done yet: Use drones to help fight crime.
It's an eye in the sky for law enforcement, without giving up the element of surprise.
"It could absolutely save lives," says Constable Alan Rosen.
Rosen says the agency's two new $1,200 drones, which ...
New Zealander of the Year: refuse vaccines, lose money 2015-04-17 22:47
Following in the footsteps of Australia, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, Dr. Lance Oâ€™Sullivan, wants to punish people who donâ€™t get vaccinated.
The New Zealand Herald (4/15) reports:
â€œA leading New Zealand doctor has called on the Government to follow Australiaâ€™s example to cut child welfare payments to families who do not vaccinate their children, saying the policy would help protect ...
Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away 2015-04-17 22:20
Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.
For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon Universityâ€™s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.
Yes, You Can Catch Insanity 2015-04-17 22:29
One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies.
Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain ...