Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I think engineering will supply our demand for a "spiritual" life after meat death."
- Bart Kosko

Robot Earthworm  
  Autonomous swarming robots the size of earthworms, with similar earth-digging capabilities.  

It feels safe in the underground bunker, covered by many yards of dirt and gravel. Until the tiny robot earthworms come.

It resembled no machine that Pere had ever seen, rather it looked like a mass of tiny gleaming roots: the red earth still packed between them heightened the illusion.

"How does it work?"

The robot reached out - leaning very close to focus its microscopic eyepieces - and carefully pulled one of the strands free. It lay on the robot's outstretched metallic palm, eight inches long, an eighth of an inch in diameter. Seen close it was not completely flexible, but made instead of pivoted and smoothly finished segments. The robot pointed out the parts of interest.

"...At the front end is a hard-edged orifice that drills a hole in the ground. Debris is carried back through the body of the machine and eliminated here: in operation it is not unlike the common earthworm. Directional apparatus here guides it, oriented by a gravimeter to locate our base. Here a power unit and here a frequency generator...

"They have no metallic components ... they move very slowly... we estimate they entered the ground four years ago."

From War With The Robots, by Harry Harrison.
Published by Pyramid Books in 1962
Additional resources -

Elsewhere they are referred to as "plastic spaghetti."

In their operation, these robot earthworms remind me of these real-life Self-Replicating Modular Robots (really an organized swarm of segments - "pivoted and smoothly finished segments"):


(Self-Replicating Modular Robots)

See also the organic mining worm from Larry Niven's 1968 book A Gift From Earth.

Compare to the mining worm robot from Love Among the Robots (1946) by Emmett McDowell, the robot snake from Bait for the Tiger (1952) by Lee Chaytor, the mechanical cobra from Lord of Light (1967) by Roger Zelazny, the digger worm from With Friends Like These (1985) by Connie Willis and the robot snake spy from Mariposa (2009) by Greg Bear.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from War With The Robots
  More Ideas and Technology by Harry Harrison
  Tech news articles related to War With The Robots
  Tech news articles related to works by Harry Harrison

Robot Earthworm-related news articles:
  - i-Snake Flexible Robot Surgeon Concept
  - Meshworm Inches Toward You (Thanks, Harry Harrison)
  - Israel Working On Tunnel Detection Snake Robots
  - I Can't Resist Worm Robots
  - Snakebot Burrows Underground, Thanks To Biomimicry Of Multiple Species

Articles related to Robotics
Auto-Targeting Fire Sprinkler Systems Now Reality
LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
Pengxing Intelligent Robot Horse You Can Ride

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Jetson ONE Personal Electric Aerial Vehicle
Who says you can't have your flying car?

Starlab By Nanoracks, A Commercial Space Station
'Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.'

Auto-Targeting Fire Sprinkler Systems Now Reality
I think every kitchen should have one of these.

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.