In our ongoing series about how well-meaning scientists are going to kill us all by failing to ask themselves “Is this an ability I’d like the Terminator to have?”, Swiss researchers have built a robot that can poop a special adhesive and build parts for itself out of it.
OK, so as robotics goes this is actually really cool, and just as general science goes it’s really cool. Also, this is limited to tools you can make out of, essentially, rubber cement, so this robot won’t be stabbing anybody.
Yet, anyway. It’s thinking about it. You can tell it’s thinking about it.
Here’s the video of the parts-making robot in question:
To set aside the robopocalypse jokes for a moment, this isn’t just something neat with no application. Part of the problem with robots is that while software is simple and easy to upgrade and update (well, relatively speaking), hardware isn’t. You can put Ubuntu on a toaster, but that doesn’t mean you can use that toaster as a word processor.
So this ability to excrete and use new parts is intensely useful, especially for “all-purpose” robots who may be stuck with a lot more problem solving than they were ever meant to tackle.
Also, as you can see, it makes for a happy Terminator. We wonder what that guy is thinking about printing ou- you know, actually, we’re good.