@MyDesign: I know robots can be deployed for many great purposes, including these military applications. Being able to send a robot into harm's way instead of a soldier (or a rescue worker, for that matter) is invaluable and I applaud all the innovation and technical progress being made in order to do so.
Beth, Robots can be used to serve many purposes. Most of the robots are used in military warfare, space applications and atomic reactors, where human interactions are not possible. But that doesn't mean that robots are using only for such purposes, it can be used in industries and hospitals. Now a day's hospitals are also making use of robots service in ICUs and Operation (Surgery) theatre for assisting doctors.
I think often war or the desire to be viewed as the biggest and baddest without having to actually use the weapons has lead to several improvements to technology that eventually find their way into the private sector. And then some entreprenuer takes it to the next level and commercializes it.
I think this is a great way, although, not really given much credit, where the government develops a technology for the benefit of self defense and it results in advancements in technology. That in turn make our lives better.
I loved that show. I think I saw the U.S version of it though. I like to see all of the robot competitions and clubs and such that are encouraging our engineers of the future. I encourage anyone reading this to consider getting involved and volunteer your time to help youngsters to get excited about robotics.
It is possibly true that those on the other side will also develop fighting robots, but the free world does have better technical resources, so we will have the upper hand for a while, at least. In addition, we will probably be able to utilize ECM against the enemy robots and reduce their effectiveness a bit. On the other side, we could always resort to multi-layer nuclear carpetbombing which would neutralize some opposition troops fairly well. At that point the other side would probably not have a similar response option handy.
And if you liked the Predator A with two Hellfire missles you'll love the Reaper (Predator B) that carries 14 plus bombs. I was reading at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics_MQ-1_Predator about on Sptember 11, 2001 a Predator was shotdown over Iraq by a SAM during the "no fly zone" period. Under the "IRAQ" heading, a dogfight is described between a MIG25 and a Predator that was armed with a Stinger air-to-air missle. It says the Stinger was distracted by the MIGs missle. These machines have already taken human lives thus they are no longer in the realm of Sci-Fi. Looks like a new arms race to me. My bet is Moores Law will apply here too. I think we are in very deep dodo as far as the human race.
ChasChas, I think that's a good point. The search and rescue and surveillance/reconnaissance robots shown here definitely save lives. If robots ever become weaponized against people, instead of against bombs, that will be another story. Many nations' militaries are investing in R&D for exactly that scenario.
Jack, the ones already in use by the US military are definitely production runs, in the sense of final tested products, although that said, production runs of these things are in the hundreds. The largest order quantity I saw mentioned was for 1,000. The US military is investing heavily in R&D of robots for various uses.
Lantronix Inc. has expanded its line of controllers for sensor networks with the release of a rugged controller that improves management of automation systems used in a number of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is