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Advanced Robotics

So, who thinks Carl and I were too sporty with the diggers and other robots in In the Shadow of Ares?

The humanoid robots are a little creepy in an uncanny valley way, but quite impressive for what they can do if even part of it is autonomous (it looks to me like the Petman demo involves someone driving the device in realtime, possibly by mean akin to motion capture, yet still with autonomous responses/reflexes at work in maintaining its balance). I found the robotic pack-mule the most impressive, probably because it (and the hexapod thing near the beginning) appears to be the most versatile and mature design – one can already imagine a production version being used in the field for a variety of applications (with or without cinder-block-tossing appendages). Or, imagine a future Mars “rover’ based on a similar platform, able to wander into more interesting areas of the planet’s surface than the current wheeled designs can reach.

The hexapod device really caught my attention, partly because Carl and I dreamed up a similar device a few months ago for Ghosts of Tharsis – more sophisticated of course, but something that is recognizable as a 40-year evolution of the device shown, augmented with the wholly-fictional (?) simulacrum intelligence technology. And if you thought the diggers were dangerous…


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