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DARPA Avatar Program Coming, But Will Soldiers Want To?

How much of your tax money would you spend on a program to recreate Avatar, a movie in which a human is "uploaded" to a robot?* Whenever a science-fictional desire exists, DARPA is ready to meet that desire (and if you don't think so, see my DARPA Project List).

The DARPA Avatar program is not quite like the movie: what they want are “interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bipedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.”


(Neytiri and jake [as an avatar])

You might notice that most of the sites covering this story showed Jake with some sort of macho weapon. But we all know why Jake wanted to stay in Avatar mode - so he could get next to lovely Neytiri.

Which, as it turns out, is a scenario that is at least three-quarters of a century-old. In his 1938 classic The Robot and the Lady, Manly Wade Wellman wrote about a man and woman who met - as a dashing and a beautiful robot, respectively.

My prize robot, tall, dashing would speak and act for me...

I turned to where, on my desk, I had set up my controls. To my ears I clamped receivers, upon my eyes I bound the gogglelike televisors that would coincide my viewpoint with that of the robot. A transmitter would place my voice upon those sculptured lips. My hands touched a great keyboard, whence, perfect through long practice, I could direct lifelike motion.
(Read more about Wellman's teleoperated robot surrogate)

Via ExtremeTech; thanks to Winchell Chung for the reminder to do this story.

* (Actually, kind of cloned alien android, based partly on your own DNA, if I recall correctly.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/18/2012)

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