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

"What I have in my stories is ethics. Ethics and morality are very different cups of tea. I adhere to a very strict rigor of personal ethics and I demand it of those around me as well."
- Harlan Ellison

Christmas Bush Motile Robot  
  Repair robot with extra-sensitive hands.  

These robots are the physical extension of the artificial intelligence system of their spaceship - James. When the robot has it's limbs extended and laser lights on, it looks like a Christmas tree.

The hands and eyes of the near-human computers that ran the various vehicles on the expedition were embodied in a repair and maintenance motile used by the computer, popularly called the "Christmas Bush" because of the twinkling laser lights on the bushy multibranched structure. The bushlike shape for the robot has a parallel in the development of life forms on Earth. The first form of life on Earth was a worm. The stick-like shape was poorly adapted for manipulation or even locomotion. Then these stick-like animals then grew smaller sticks, called legs, and the animals could walk, although they were still poor at manipulation. Then the smaller sticks grew yet smaller sticks, and hands with manipulating fingers evolved.

The Christmas Bush is a manifold extension of this idea. The motile has a six-"armed" main body that repeatedly hexfurcates into copies one-third the size of itself, finally ending up with millions of near-microscopic cilia. Each subsegment has a small amount of intelligence, but is mostly motor and communication system. The segments communicate with each other and transmit power down through the structure by means of light-emitting and light-collecting semiconductor diodes. It is the colored lasers sparkling from the various branches of the Christmas Bush that give the motile the appearance of a Christmas tree. The main computer in the spacecraft is the primary controller of the motile, communicating with the various portions of the Christmas Bush through color-coded laser beams. It takes a great deal of computational power to operate the many limbs of the Christmas Bush, but the built-in "reflex" intelligence in the various levels of segmentation lessen the load on the main computer.

The "hands" of the Christmas Bush have capabilities that go way beyond that of the human hand. The Christmas Bush can stick a "hand" inside a delicate piece of equipment, and using its lasers as a light source and its detectors as eyes, rearrange the parts inside for a near instantaneous repair. The Christmas Bush also has the ability to detach portions of itself to make smaller motiles. These can walk up the walls and along the ceilings with the tiny cilia holding onto microscopic cracks in the surface. The smaller twigs on the Christmas Bush are capable of very rapid motion. In free fall, these rapidly beating twigs allow the motile to propel itself through the air. The speed of motion of the smaller cilia is rapid enough that the motiles can generate sound and thus can talk directly with the humans.

Each astronaut in the crew has a small subtree or "imp" that stays with him or her to act as the communication link to the main computer.

From Rocheworld, by Robert Forward.
Published by Not known in 1985
Additional resources -

According to the introduction to the novel, the idea of a Christmas bush robot was "jointly conceived" by Forward and Austrian roboticist Has Moravec.

Thanks to Ben Lipkowitz for supplying the quote.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Rocheworld
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Forward
  Tech news articles related to Rocheworld
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Forward

Christmas Bush Motile Robot-related news articles:
  - Bush Robots - Fingers On Your Fingers On Your Fingers...
  - Flying Micro-Robot Has Pincer
  - Hopfield Neural Net Helper AIs For Astronauts
  - Yale Aerial Manipulator Flying Robotic Hand

Articles related to Robotics
Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
Maintain Your Megastructure
Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.