Flesh-eating robots? What the developers say

July 30, 2009

The Web has been abuzz lately with news that military developers have a flesh-eating robot on the loose…or at least in the planning stages.

But one of the developers of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) Project, Robotic Technology Inc, says they’d like to set the record straight. As they note on their Web site: “This robot is strictly vegetarian.”    

According to Robotics, the EATR (patent pending) is being used to develop long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.

“The system obtains its energy by foraging – engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. It 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.”

The developers are working towards three potential Phase III commercialization projects: “(1) the development of prototype and operational EATR™ systems for military and civil applications; (2) new civil and military applications for the autonomous intelligent control system; and (3) development of the hybrid external combustion engine system for civil and military automotive applications, whether for manned or unmanned vehicles.”

Days after announcing the EATR, various Internet sites latched onto the story and developed their own theories of flesh-eating robots. The developers came forward with a new press release, saying: “In response to rumors circulating the internet…about a “flesh eating” robot project,  Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. (Pink Sheets: CYPW) and Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) would like to set the record straight: This robot is strictly vegetarian.”

They go on to explain, “RTI’s patent pending robotic system will be able to find, ingest and extract energy from biomass in the environment. Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes “human bodies,” the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips – small, plant-based items for which RTI’s robotic technology is designed to forage. Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI.  
 
“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO. “We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.”   

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