PR offensive by creators shows 'corpse-eating' military robot really a vegetarian


IT SOUNDED like something pulled straight from a grisly scene in Terminator: an unstoppable military robot that powered itself by devouring all in its path – including trees, grass and even, according to reports, dead bodies.

But after a string of headlines that labelled the machine a “corpse eater”, the robot’s creators have gone on a public relations offensive to extinguish the rumour that their invention will feed on human or animal flesh. The machine’s inventors say the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot – Eatr for short – does power its “biomass engine” by digesting organic material, but it is not intended to chomp its way through battlefields of fallen soldiers.

“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” said Harry Schoell of Cyclone Power Technologies, one of the companies behind the machine. “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.” The publicity drive is in reaction to the buzz created when it emerged the project was in the testing phase, thanks to funding from the Pentagon. The concept has been pushed forward with money from the US military’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. Officials hope the steam-powered engine can be used by the military to create a robot that could survive on its own for months at a time.

The early version of Eatr runs on twigs, wood chips and other plant-based material but can use petrol, diesel or cooking oil. But the group reiterated that it would be illegal to create a robot that used dead bodies for energy. –( Guardiannews)