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Alien What

A Biomass-eating Military Robot That's a "Vegetarian"

I'm now going to propose a bill that makes Smithee movie watching mandatory for all government positions with the power to give the go-ahead to projects like this one because…oh come ON! I can name 5 movies off the top of my head where robots go bad and they didn't start out designed as a biomass eating entity. But for sure, Fox News reports this:

Biomass-Eating Military Robot Is a Vegetarian, Company Says

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A steam-powered, biomass-eating military robot being designed for the Pentagon is a vegetarian, its maker says.

Robotic Technology Inc.'s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — that's right, "EATR" — "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," reads the company's Web site.

But, contrary to reports, including one that appeared on FOXNews.com, the EATR will not eat animal or human remains.

Dr. Bob Finkelstein, president of RTI and a cybernetics expert, said the EATR would be programmed to recognize specific fuel sources and avoid others.

“If it’s not on the menu, it’s not going to eat it,” Finkelstein said.

“There are certain signatures from different kinds of materials” that would distinguish vegetative biomass from other material."

RTI said Thursday in a press release:

"Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes “human bodies,” the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone (Cyclone Power Technologies Inc.) 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."

EATR will be powered by the Waste Heat Engine developed by Cyclone, of Pompano Beach, Fla., which uses an "external combustion chamber" burning up fuel to heat up water in a closed loop, generating electricity.

The advantages to the military are that the robot would be extremely flexible in fuel sources and could roam on its own for months, even years, without having to be refueled or serviced.

Upon the EATR platform, the Pentagon could build all sorts of things — a transport, an ambulance, a communications center, even a mobile gunship.

In press materials, Robotic Technology presents EATR as an essentially benign artificial creature that fills its belly through "foraging," despite the obvious military purpose.

Nomination for Inane: “If it’s not on the menu, it’s not going to eat it."


Haven't we already done this one? Let's see, there as a Most Ludicrous Premise, Worst Science, plenty of Inane Dialog (as already noted), and Acting Appropriately Stupid. Later on, there'll be several Alas Poor Yoricks and a LUTTR as the All American Boy Commando sneaks off to make out with the Science Advisor while the rest of their team gets massacred by EATRs. And then a Crummy Ending as the All American Boy Commando and the Science Advisor walk off into the sunset saying, "that's it, we got them all" and then the camera pans back to the burned-out shell of one of the EATRs and there's a burst of static and it's glowing red eye winks back on.

Oops, hope I didn't spoil it for anybody.