The Multi-Appendage Robotic System (MARS) from Virginia Tech's Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory looks like a giant spider with six legs instead of eight. Fabricated out of carbon fiber and aluminum, the robot's legs are spaced axi-symmetrically around its body, which lets it walk omni-directionally. Each leg uses a proximal joint with two degrees of freedom and a distal joint with one degree of freedom for added strength and rigidity. The goal is to develop a walking gait system for negotiating terrain with variations in height. The system is based on simplified biological neuron networks, arranged in subnetworks and subsystems to support the operation of another neural network: a central pattern generator (CPG) that generates gait patterns based on feedback from all supporting systems. (Source: Virginia Polytechnic and State University)
Rob, you're right of course about the friendly robots in movies. Robby was in Forbidden Planet, that amazing 50s sci-fi movie gem. But he tends to get eclipsed in my memory by all the scary ones. It does seem like robots have gotten mostly scary in movies again.
Ann, I think that they were called hounds, or dogs, or something like that. They chased people who ran, and sedated them with a morphine injection. They were not a large part of the story. If I can find that book again I will attempt to refresh my recollection of that part. But it was a long time ago that I read it, when it was current.
William, the first scary robot I remember was Gort, in the original The Day The Earth Stood Still. I was pretty small, so he was pretty scary. Funny, I don't remember the robots in Fahrenheit 451 as scary. That book is about an oppressive government that outlawed books, among other things, and burned them publicly, just like Savonarola did in Italy during the Renaissance.
Ann, only the part about the bear in the woods was intended to be funny. On the other hand, small robotic spies should allow for the study of different species in much closer detail than otherwise convenient, or even possible. And that would indeed probably be done with equipment similar to what private snoops would use.
The first scary robots that I recall are in the book "Farenhite 451", which was about some sort of oppressive government, as I recall. Those robots shot poeple with morphine to capture them. And the robots were quite small, it seems.
The good news, at least so far, is that those who wish to attack us have not yet mastered the technology of robotics, except for remote controlled detonators.
So we now see that for good or bad, the development of various small "robotic things" is changing the world, if we want it or not.
bobjengr, Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite science fiction authors, so I guess I'm kind of paranoid, too. Maybe I read and watch too much sci-fi. Anyway, yes I remember Minority Report. There's an awful lot of new tech in that movie. Those 'bots didn't scare me nearly as much as the talking ads. But I know what you mean, and I'm actually conflicted about the 'bots in this slideshow. I don't much like bugs and worms in real life (although I do like snakes) but these machines are fascinating. They attract me because of their amazing design, but they repel me because, well, they're crawly!