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back to article Robot land-steamers to consume all life on Earth as fuel

News has emerged of a milestone reached on the road towards a potentially world-changing piece of technology. We speak, of course, of US military plans to introduce roving steam-powered robots which would fuel themselves by harvesting everything alive and cramming it into their insatiable blazing furnaces. The scheme is …

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Black Helicopters

Strategy

I can see it now, DARPA releases these robots everywhere except North America and has a masive EMP flash every 2-3 mins along the US borders... then the US could rape the planet and there would be no-one around to complain*

*except the robots but they'd be under US control.

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I love

I love the way it slipped into fiction there.

OR DID IT?

Woudln't it be easier to make dirty pikey robots that unscrew stationary car fuel caps and sup the octanous liquid within?

No robotic masticating needed then. Also - recon is meant to be slightly stealthy, a trail of munched crops and a plume of smoke/steam on the horizon may give it away. What happens when it rains?

Will it have a battery backup, just in case? Or is the motion mechanical rather than steam->electricity? No, I refuse to clickon the link to learn more.

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Alert

April Fool's

Haha nice one Reg. An April fools joke in July.

.. it is ... isn't it?

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Terminator

But they can be stopped...

...by bacteria, although humans have become imune to them, <steam powered killings machines> are no match......

Ulla, ulla, ulla, ullaaaaaaaa

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Flame

I have seen Terminator

This is dumb, no?

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WTF?

uh huh

9th of July, not 1st of April.

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Flame

I for one welcome....

.... nah not going there!

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old apple cores

"Cyclone says that their engine can also run happily on old apple cores, banana peel and other kitchen garbage gleaned from bins."

"Mr Fusion" on the DeLorean at the end of Back To The Future?

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Welcome

I for one...

welcome our semi-intelligent, walking pressure-cooker-esque, pikey thieving robotic overlords.

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Welcome

Yeah thats right...

I plan to move to Death Valley, hopefully the blighters will be out of steam before they reach me...

Until they discover plutonium....

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Grenade

Recognition ability?

Could they be programmed to prey only on the likes of Kleeneezee reps, wheelclampers, MP's and Big Brother housemates etc.? You know - stuff that is a waste product of the planet already?

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Grenade

Surely

Surely this thing could be seen for miles around, belching our smoke and steam and, if it burns road kill and bodies, smelling strongly of BBQ. Also, how big would this thing have to be?

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Anonymous Coward

Autonom-nom-nom-nomous technology

You, sir, win a cookie just for that!

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Coat

Metaphor

Are they just a metaphor for the human race?

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Previously described art

Does anybody else remember the coal fired, steam powered robot in Harry Harrison's "The Stainless Steel Rat"?

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Pint

I like it.

At least there's now a fitting response to those who keep whining on about carbon dioxide and "the environment" as they line their own pockets. See? They can be useful - as fuel.

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Alien

MR FUSION!!!

All they have to do is develop a time machine within the next 6 years and we can travel to 2015 BEFORE IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS. Then suddenly, the future will resolve into a symbolically complete solution of itself and wink out of existence as we become caught in a non-terminating causal reality/unreality Mobius/Spielberg probability loop. THANKS DARPA!!!

*POOF!*

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Prior art?

So DARPA is creating a machine that will hang around stealthily, and potentially eat or burn anything in sight, and also steal the gas from your car?

Any parent of a teenager can claim prior art, then.

-dZ.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm curious

At what temperature furnace does a human body have to be tossed into, in order to extract combustible energy.

Or whatever the term I'm looking for, but probably not correctly articulating, is..

Surely there must be some chemists who can answer this?

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Coat

Terminator?

Matrix, shurely?

(with the spoon.... what do you mean there's no....?)

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Grenade

SG1

Someone call SG1 & Richard Dean Anderson to stop the Replicators!

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Megaphone

Hmm...

Am I wrong, but besides the obvious, and now-ever-so-slightly-dull-and-predicatable teminator/skynet references, didn't Thunderbirds feature a couple of storylines about machines like this going mental?

Calling International Rescue.....

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Won't work so well in the desert

unless they can digest rocks...

Reminds me of all the apocalyptic stories I've read where the apparently invincible force is felled by the one thing the designers didn't take into account. It will probably be wear and tear that halts the giant, lumbering furnaces.

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Anonymous Coward

Doomsday Machine

There was a cracking Star Trek episode called The Doomsday Machine, someone at DARPA must have watched it, possibly after a little chemical abuse.

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Mek-Quake

Mek - Quake says : Big Jobs!!!

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FAIL

Dear Darpa

Steam is not sexy enough. So yesterday. We want Mr. Fusion, please?

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Terminator

I wonder

If I am the only one that misread "Cyclone Power Technologies" as Cylon Power Technologies?

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Silver badge

Manchurian AcademICQs

With a little more development, it could almost be a human. In fact, with some Deeper Programming, it is not difficult to turn Man into Machine, which is a much better and simpler option than contemplating and battling with the reverse/converse

Strangely enough the same thought has just been posted on the El Reg Brother/Sister site .... the Inquirer.... which is Spooky ....... "Wage a war...Lose the Peace" ... http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1433192/boffins-military-robots-conscience

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Coat

Don't Panic

If these things are built in the same factories as most American cars they'll only be able to travel at walking pace and be incapable of turning! All we need to do is keep up a brisk step and walk in a circle:

<zoinks! the humanoid energy being has evaded me. activating orientation adjustment circuits. oh sh*t! i haven't got any...>

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Z 1
Terminator

Chilling

Reminds me the game Thief 2 where the bad guy Karras wanted to erradicate everyone and replace them with metallic steam powered "Children of the builder".

"In one act, I will end all human suffering, and clear the path for the Builder to walk again on earth, history will move forward! My tireless children will build in his name, creating advancements beyond our understanding."

Truly, life is stranger than fiction!

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Coffee/keyboard

@gaz

Yeah, but that was just a logging machine, and the crew fell unconcious when the chili from the night before finally settled in. (I'm not joking! Watch the episode!)

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Silver badge
FAIL

Great, my tax dollars are going....

to making a heavily-armed smokey, clanking mechanical raccoon?

Can't DARPA train the real thing (or maybe a pack of coyotes) to do the same job?

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Bronze badge

Odd

I'll have to say that with an acronym like EATR, I was inclined to think of this as simply a joke article, although military equipment not tied to one sort of fuel is practical enough.

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the Berserkers

they dropped a bit and started destroying ALL life, instead of only the "enemy"

an organized resistance could probably poison it with boron laced fuels.

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Grenade

It's been done - 130 years ago

See Boilerplate at http://bigredhair.com ;)

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Meat fuel

Kill two birds..er...blokes with one stone.

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Terminator

Took me a minute...

...to remember where I had seen this before. DARPA as just copying ideas from Star Wars.

This is just a World Devastator.

"The world devastators were designed from ground based walking construction droids, which use a molecular furnace to 'consume' and remake debris and other items into useful/new constructions."

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Please tell me that it's April Fools day.

Please tell me that it's April Fools day. Alternatively, tell me that the author has been drinking.

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Anonymous Coward

A slightly less alarming view

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/01/robotic-technol.html

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Actually a better use...

Might be to train plant and roadkill eating bots, and release them along highways. Never again will you have to see a weed or untrimmed lawn or dead skunk. With appropriate training, they could handle all the public lands yard maintenance, thus saving people some valuable tax monies which could be redirected to DARPA.

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Silver badge

Ponzi Foundations for Milking the System for Rubbish Technology? Made in America

"Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this news release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of Rule 175 under the Securities Act of 1933 and Rule 3b-6 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and are subject to the safe harbor created by those rules. All statements, other than statements of fact, included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding potential future plans and objectives of the company, are forward-looking

statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. The company cautions that these forward-looking statements are further qualified by other factors. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any statements in this release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise."

The above is what you read at the end of the provided pdf link ...... and it should tell you a lot about the product's viability.

The world is a fairy tale and easily led by words.

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Dead Vulture

might look something like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKBCEiAk5J4

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Thumb Up

is it just me...

... or should the 'biomass furnace which powers a steam generator driving a "waste heat engine" from Cyclone Power Technologies' be put into a passenger vehicle for trial?

THAT part of it sounds like a decent idea and a lot more likely to happen soon than the preferable Mr. Fusion.

Oh, and I do love the idea of having it feed on roadkill and Big Brother housemates.

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Pint

Old school tech

My wife and I made 2 of these already, took us about 20 min. for the initial prototypes. Ongoing programming and upgrades are costing us, but we imagine we should have 2 fully working field tested samples in about 14 years.

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Welcome

Om nom?

"EATR"

That name right there, is purest WIN. :-)

"The idea of EATR is ostensibly that military reconnaissance droids far behind enemy lines would be able to forage for fuel."

And by happy coincidence would also plunder the resources of the enemy as they did so. Burn and pillage, yeah! Not exactly stealthy though.

"Steam is not sexy enough. So yesterday."

I'm sure those people responsible for developing and refining nuclear powered subs and aircraft carriers would disagree... :-)

"Might be to train plant and roadkill eating bots, and release them along highways. Never again will you have to see a weed or untrimmed lawn or dead skunk."

Awesome, where can I preorder one of these? Should take care of trimming my lawn, solve my mole/rabbit/neighbor's dog problems in a stroke, *and* double as a handy home defense system should some miscreant wander onto my property.

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Silver badge

Remember they're American

So they get as far as the first McD's eat a weeks worth of food and become so obese they have to be driven around in Hummers.

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Unhappy

Mmmmm, people.....

They're really just after the soylent green. NOM NOM NOM

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Gold badge

@Martin 6

Hummers? Nah. They'd need to be able to turn waste into ersatz petrol to run 'em and if they could do that, we wouldn't need 'em in the first place.

They'll be generating power, so the obvious mitigation to the robotic fat bastard problem would be for them to nick a lard chariot, plug it in to a handy power take off and run around like that. So, if you wake up one morning and find that the trees are gone from your garden, your dustbins are empty and your segway's missing, you know what's happened.

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Pint

Somewhere..

Somewhere there is a room full of people thinking this sh**.. stuff up and getting paid handsomely with taxpayers money... am torn between wanting in or pouring the concrete to seal the room.

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Coat

Dalek vulnerability.

Well, maybe its tracks will be able to go up stairs, but I think it's likely to be stumped by a big pit.

I'll get my moat ....

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