News Stories

Robot Roaches

What if all those nasty bugs running around your kitchen floor were really ROBOTS?! This may especially be true if they're not scurrying around but are marching in formation to some sort of unheard time beat. And speaking of kitchens, your NEXT house may be based on termite nests.

In New Scientist, Philip Ball writes "In the heart of Africa's savannah lies a city that is a model of sustainable development. Its buttressed towers are built entirely from natural, biodegradable materials. Its inhabitants live and work in quarters that are air-conditioned and humidity-regulated, without consuming a single watt of electricity. Water comes from wells that dip deep into the earth, and food is cultivated self-sufficiently in gardens within its walls. This metropolis is not just eco-friendly: with its curved walls and graceful arches, it is rather beautiful too. This is no human city, of course. It is a termite mound." Architects want to create the same kind of thing for us humans.

Meanwhile, mechanical engineer John Schmitt is using cockroaches as a model for many-legged robots of the future that can run effortlessly over rough terrain. Despite being hard to kill, cockroaches do not have the world's biggest brains and they don't plan their routes: Their legs move by instinct, not by reflex. Schmitt is working on designing robot legs that work the same way. They could work for the military as ground level "drones." They could also check out dangerous situations for law enforcement officers (probably without being noticed). In LiveScience.com, Boonsri Dickinson quotes Schmitt as saying, "If you wanted surveillance, you'd build a legged robot, and scatter them around. They will communicate with each other and set up a reconfigurable wireless network." So the next time you see a roach, don't spray it until you're sure it's real.

In a diary about attending the screening of a movie about global warming, Anne Strieber once compared this website to roaches, because we're stamped on and dismissed but we just won't go away. There's only ONE thing that can kill us off: neglect. We need YOU to make sure we don't die so subscribe today. You can come meet Anne and all your favorite Dreamland hosts in person in June. The FIRST 25 people to get tickets to the Dreamland Festival in Nashville on June 25-27, will get a FREE DVD of LAST YEAR'S Festival!

And here's ANOTHER reason to subscribe: Anyone who subscribes or renews for 6 months or more starting at 7 am March 20 will receive a FREE "Dark Matter" DVD. The LAST day for this offer will be Sat. March 27 at midnight.

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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