A few years ago we were at a South by Southwest party hosted by Maureen McHugh, where I introduced my stepson Barton to cyberpunk Bruce Sterling. Their discussion culminated into Bruce showing Barton YouTube videos of robotic jellyfish...which, it seems, are moving from a bit of a novelty into use as drones.
"The robotic jellyfish - approximately the size of a human hand - requires batteries to operate and researchers are hoping the bot will ultimately be capable of mimicking the efficient propulsion capabilities of real-world jellyfish to extend its runtime. Using the efficient jellyfish-like method of propulsion, scientists believe the robot will be capable of running for months on a single charge instead of hours."
I could also see Cyro being used to spy on the citizens of Rapture, perhaps turning their degeneration into anarchy into the most lurid of reality television: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea meets Atlas Shrugged.
Via the MIT News Office, we move one step closer to the robot uprising:
"In a pair of recent papers, the researchers demonstrate both applications. At last year’s International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics, they showed how their technique can improve trajectory planning in complex robots like the experimental Fast Runner, an ostrich-like bipedal robot being built at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.
"And in a paper that has been short-listed for the best-paper award at this year’s Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control conference in April, they use their framework to establish stability conditions for some simple mechanical systems undergoing collision."
More robotics on Ray Kurzweil's site, in which robotic agility is discussed.
Derek Austin Johnson has lived most of his life in the Lone Star State. A member of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, his work has appeared in Rick Klaw's Rayguns Over Texas!, Nova Express, Moving Pictures, Her Majesty's Secret Servant, and Revolution SF. His film column "Watching the Future" appears each month at SF Signal.
He lives in Central Texas with the Goddess.