Does PETA Dream Of Electric Groundhogs?
PETA is requesting that a robotic groundhog replace famed quadruped Punxsutawney Phil. PETA claimed in a press release that it's unfair to keep Phil in captivity; subjecting him to bright lights and big crowds is also on their bad-human list.
William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, disagrees, saying that the animal is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania." The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.
Well, PETA, your wish has already come true. Take a look at this Groundhog robot created by engineers at Carnegie Mellon.
(Goundhog robot - 3D Mine Mapping)
We have two robotic systems developed for acquiring accurate volumetric maps of underground mines. One system is based on a cart instrumented by laser range finders, pushed through a mine by people. Another (Groundhog) is a remotely controlled mobile robot equipped with laser range finders. To build consistent maps of large mines with many cycles, we describe an algorithm for estimating global correspondences and aligning robot paths. This algorithm enables us to recover consistent maps several hundreds of meters in diameter, without odometric information. We have tested the robots in two mines, a research mine in Bruceton, PA, and an abandoned coal mine in Burgettstown, PA.
On October 27, 2002, the Groundhog robot was deployed in an abandoned coal mine, too toxic for people to enter (oxygen levels were too low for people to remain conscious). The previously flooded mine had been partially drained in the days before the experiment. Though the ground was still covered with toxic mud. the robot advanced more than 30 meters into the mine when the computer box flooded. A second experiment on October 29 led to an even deeper penetration, now with a water-sealed computer box. The robot was more than 50% submersed while a live video feed was broadcasted via satellites to a mine safety conference.
On May 30, 2003, Groundhog autonomously descended into the abandoned Mathies Mine near Pittsburgh, PA. The 1500-pound vehicle was equipped with laser range sensors, a night vision camera, gas detectors, sinkage sensors, and a gyroscope. 308 meters into the rapidly decaying mine, Groundhog encountered a broken ceiling beam that draped diagonally across the robot's path. The robot made the appropriate decision to retreat.
Philip K. Dick fans are sympathetic with PETA's wish for robotic groundhogs, having their own special wish for electric sheep and other animals since reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in 1968:
He ascended … to the covered pasture whereon his electric sheep "grazed." Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building.
Of course, some of their animals undoubtedly consisted of electronic circuitry fakes, too (he had never nosed into the matter)…Nothing could be more impolite. To say "Is your sheep genuine" would be a breach of etiquette.
From NBC Philadelphia.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/29/2010)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Robot Surgeons No Better Than Humans
"Take care, sir. (2-1B medical droid)" - George Lucas, 1980.
K5 Autonomous Data Machine The Future Of Mall Security
''Halt!' A robot guard appeared…'- Philip K. Dick, 1955.
Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
That's a lot of languages - but there's room in our imagination for more.
WildCat Runs Faster Than You, Untethered
'...moving with such drifting ease that it was like a single solid cloud of black-grey smoke blown at him in silence.' Ray Bradbury, 1953.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Can Gut Bacteria Make You Smarter?
'Vergil had trained the lymphocytes in the past six months to interact as much as possible with each other and with their environment...'
Shimuzu Luna Ring Solar Power Project
'This was really free power... Power carried across millions of miles on Addison's tight-beam principle.'
AllSee Low Power Gesture Recognition
'It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course...'
Must Breaking Up Be Hard To Do?
'Whoever was placed inside the apparatus instantaneously experienced all the charms, lures, wiles, winks and witchery of all the fairer sex in the Universe at once.'
PillCam Colon Now Approved By FDA
'You're going to take a picture of my insides?'
RYNO To Heinlein - Your Tumblebug Is Ready!
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'
3D Printing Your Winter Reality
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings it scans with photo-cells...'
Roboroach Now Shipping!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'
MeCam Selfie Nano Drone Like Karen Traviss' Bee Cam
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'
AeroLife Inhalable Food Powder
'Now shall the brutal murdering of fellow animals and brother vegetables forever stop...'
Harvest-Time On The International Space Station
We will come rejoicing.
Pop Secret Pop Dongle Lets You Smell The Corn A Poppin' On Your Smartphone
'The joymaker in his hand hissed and sprayed him with something...'
Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Taken Off Life Support
As described by Frank Herbert.
'Smart Silk' In Quantity
'Strongest stuff in the world, stronger than the best steel. Synthetic spider silk...'
Motorcycle Racing Suit With Airbags
'She jerks the manual release on her cervical collar and goes into full Michelin Man mode...'
Lapel Cameras For LAPD Officers
'Every move they made, were being transmitted to their home unit...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories