Human traitors in Oregon are planning the construction of fearsome robot cockroaches physically superior to mankind.
“Cockroaches are incredible," says John Schmitt, a prof at Oregon State uni. "They can run fast, turn on a dime, move easily over rough terrain, and react to perturbations faster than a nerve impulse can travel.”
Schmitt and his colleagues plan to build cockroach-like but much larger machines to be employed in "difficult jobs, such as military operations, law enforcement or space exploration".
The spacegoing robowarrior roaches would have huge advantages over today's vaguely humanoid or quadruped walker robots, according to Schmitt. He says that current machines use far too much energy and computing power on locomotion, leaving little left over for the actual task at hand: in this case conquest, subsequent subjugation of the populace, and then the carrying of the campaign onward into space.
“A cockroach doesn’t think much about running, it just runs," enthuses the lovestruck prof. "And it only slows down about 20 percent when going over blocks that are three times higher than its hips. That’s just remarkable, and an indication that their stability has to do with how they are built, rather than how they react.”
It seems that other likely blueprints for the space warrior drones of the future include the guinea-hen, another creature whose racing skills are far superior to those of humanity. According to an Oregon State statement:
A guinea hen, for instance, can change the length and angle of its spring-like legs to almost automatically adjust to an unexpected change in a ground surface as much as 40 percent of its hip height. That would be like a human running at full speed, stepping into a 16-inch-deep hole and never missing a beat.
"Researchers are getting closer to their goal," add the uni spokesmen, worryingly.
“Humans can run, but frankly [there will be little point in their doing so]” comments Schmitt.
The prof and a colleague have recently published a paper on their work, Modeling posture-dependent leg actuation in sagittal plane locomotion, in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. It can be read for free in pdf here.
Evidently the day of humanity's extirpation at the mandibles of our own robotic space cockroach and droid guinea-fowl enforcement legions is to be expected imminently. ®