Just as we at the neoLuddite Resistance Army were putting the final touches to a truly chilling round-up of the inexorable Rise of the Machines™, (due for publication this Friday - prepare your spines for X-rated tingling), we received news that a 17-year-old high school student has crushed a fledgling uprising of arm-wresting robolimbs.
Panna Felsen - a name now elevated to the Pantheon of Glory here at the NRA - arm-wrestled into submission a trio of experimental cyberarms at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, California. The contest was apparently set up to "encourage the development of polymer-based artificial muscles". Organiser Yoseph Bar-Cohen say the whole project is aimed at "improving on existing actuators - or muscles - currently used in prosthetics and robots".
According to New Scientist: "Electric motors tend to be too weak, while hydraulics and pneumatics are too heavy for use in robotics or prosthetics. EAPs [electroactive polymers], in comparison are lightweight, quiet and capable of energy densities similar to biological muscles."
Those readers not au fait with electroactive polymers should note that they are "plastics that can change shape when activated either electrically or with chemicals" - a concept which has Lizard Alliance written all over it.
Sadly for the three teams competing in the arm-wresting challenge (two from the US, and one from Switzerland), the battling teen easily overcame her adversaries "in a matter of seconds", leaving the unfortunate developers to report abject failure to their dark masters*.
This is not an end to the matter, however. Bar-Cohen says the ultimate aim of the EAP plan is to produce a robotic arm which can defeat the strongest human. Tune in on Friday to discover why this scheme holds the terrifying prospect of humanity enslaved to murderous self-replicating hoovers serviced by monkey-brain-controlled EAP-powered limbs.
In the meantime - be safe out there. ®
*The price of failure is, we understand, to be dumped unceremoniously into a pit heaving with enraged cyberloos. It's the least they deserve.
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