September 23 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Security Year: General Rating: 3
We’ve seen some amazing robots recently. There’s the robotic tuna fish that will hopefully revolutionize the submarine world, there’s the super-realistic cod developed in Japan which still creeps me out, and of course let’s not forget the giant robotic spider that made Liverpool it’s home until it was herded into a tunnel by flamethrowers, hopefully never to be seen again (that thing still gives me nightmares).
The idea that these robots could be used by the military is very realistic. And while robotic fish are a great choice (imagine thousands of silent torpedoes, swimming around the ocean, looking for enemy ships), a giant spider might not be such a great choice. It’s an easy target, doesn’t hide very well, and despite the terror of facing one, you could outrun it easily.
So what things in the world should the military imitate in their desire for the perfect robotic weapon?
Children: My personal favorite. The idea that a simple child could be a deadly robot just makes so much sense to me. I mean, why would you think that five year old huddled in the corner in fear is actually programmed to rip your throat out?
Hornets: Already feared by all, the technology involved in making a hornet capable of delivering a poison sting, or possibly performing recon on enemy sites is too great to pass up. You could let a million of them loose on the countryside, spanning entire continents, looking for any sign of enemy activity (or even spying on other countries in peacetime).
Bats: It’s been tried before in World War II with live bats strapped to bombs (it didn’t work, go figure), but robotic bats would be stealthy and unnoticed. Their primary use would be night surveillance since any other creature flying around at night would be incredibly suspicious. On top of that, they could roost during the day, recharging their batteries with the Sun.
Snakes: Snakes are stealthy, can move efficiently on the ground, and have incredible senses. Now this could mean you could use it for surveillance, crossing a mine field,even silently taking out guards. Don’t forget there are sea snakes too. The only problem you’d run into is if you tried to invade Ireland, whoops.
Gulls: These annoying sea pests are so numerous that seeing them around naval bases wouldn’t be uncommon, allowing them to monitor and record everything. And with over fifty different types of gull, you could specialize them to any port in the world. Getting them to poop realistically might be a bit of a challenge though— having a group of seagulls that leave no trace is sure to attract attention.
Pigeons: Ah pigeons, rats with wings. There are over 300 kinds of this bird. They infest major cities and go mostly unchecked. Another thing you might want to think of— with so many pigeons around in the cities, how come you’ve never seen a baby pigeon? Maybe they’re already robots.
Worms: These guys can burrow into just about anything. They could be programmed to seek and set off mines, poison enemy crops, or even eat stores of food. They could also, en masse, undermine physical structures. Buildings would sink into the ground, missile silos could be tilted, and cars could drive over an underground ditch, crashing into a suddenly deep pit.
Botfly: Talk about one of the most gross bugs out there, they can lay their eggs in your skin where they eat away at your body and hatch. How could this be useful? A bunch of robotic botflies could attack an enemy encampment at night, planting all sorts of goodness into bodies with simple bites. You could have them inject poison or even a time-release poison (“Surrender or we’ll activate the poison in your body!”). In case killing thousands isn’t your deal, you could plant in tracking devices,keeping the enemy safely away from your troops or surrounding their encampments.
What would you like to see as a military robot?
Image: techburst (Flickr, CC-Attribution)