Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


New Robot Would Fuel Itself on Grass, Wood, Human Corpses

DiscoblogBy Allison BondJuly 16, 2009 12:59 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

About a year ago, we calmly speculated about the implications that a slug-eating robot might have for us delicious humans. Recently, there have been reports of the development of a steam-powered robot that can fuel itself by consuming any organic material in its path, from leaves to twigs to (gulp) humans. Now might be a good time to panic, at least if you value your body with its flesh intact. According to the developers of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, appropriately abbreviated EATR, the bot could live independently for years on old furniture, dead animals and, of course, human corpses, which provide the greatest fuel of all. Fox News reports:

EATR... which uses an "external combustion chamber" burning up fuel to heat up water in a closed loop, generating electricity.... Upon the EATR platform, the Pentagon could build all sorts of things — a transport, an ambulance, a communications center, even a 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.

Essentially benign? We're not so sure about that. tweetmeme_style = \\'compact\\'; Related Content: Science Not Fiction: Hungry Robots. What Could Go Wrong? Discoblog: New Humanoid Robot Shows More Emotion Than Some Humans Discoblog: Japan’s “Child Robot” Learns to Walk DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Robots DISCOVER: When Robots Live Among Us

Image: flickr / Tellumo

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In