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Slideshow: Robots Creeping & Crawling Into New Territory
5/25/2012

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The six-legged RiSE was inspired by how geckos and cockroaches climb vertical surfaces. Full of sensors and funded by DARPA, the robot climbs walls, fences, and trees, changing its posture to conform to the changing curvature of each surface. Microclawed feet help it negotiate textured surfaces, and each of its six legs is powered by two electric motors. (Source: Boston Dynamics)
The six-legged RiSE was inspired by how geckos and cockroaches climb vertical surfaces. Full of sensors and funded by DARPA, the robot climbs walls, fences, and trees, changing its posture to conform to the changing curvature of each surface. Microclawed feet help it negotiate textured surfaces,
and each of its six legs is powered by two electric motors.
(Source: Boston Dynamics)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: creeping crawling robots
Ann R. Thryft   6/4/2012 4:19:45 PM
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Rob, thanks for mentioning the friendly Star Wars robots. D'oh! They were not just friendly but very funny. I think they were the first (the only?) comedic robots in film.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: creeping crawling robots
Rob Spiegel   6/4/2012 12:02:53 PM
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Yes, Ann, Forbidden Plant. That's where the scientist's "id" ran amok. Robby also appeared in a number of movies and TV show over the years, including Mork and Mindy.

Another couple friendly robots are 3-CPO and R2 D2.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: creeping crawling robots
Ann R. Thryft   6/4/2012 11:43:30 AM
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I remember now, they were called hounds. The book was published in 1953, and the movie came out in 1966, which is around the time I read it.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: creeping crawling robots
Ann R. Thryft   6/4/2012 11:42:20 AM
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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.

William K.
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Re: creeping crawling robots
William K.   6/1/2012 8:27:07 PM
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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. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: creeping crawling robots
Rob Spiegel   6/1/2012 4:44:35 PM
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Robots were not always scary. I remember Robby the Robot as a friendly sort. He was in a couple movies in the 50s. I think one was the Angry Red Planet.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: creeping crawling robots
Ann R. Thryft   6/1/2012 1:20:29 PM
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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.

William K.
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Re: Robots, creeping and crawling.
William K.   6/1/2012 12:49:19 PM
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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.

William K.
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creeping crawling robots
William K.   6/1/2012 12:45:15 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: BOTS
Ann R. Thryft   6/1/2012 11:41:25 AM
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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!

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