May 9, 2007 The development of robots for the U.S. Military is primarily so they can do jobs that keep humans out of harm's way. One of the world’s foremost roboticists, the delightfully eccentric Mark Tilden, recently encountered an interesting response while testing an autonomous landmine-detecting robot according to the Washington Post. Tilden is best known as the designer of Wowee’s Robosapien, RoboReptile ad infinitum range of robotic toys, but has worked for NASA and more recently Los Alamos National Laboratory where he is developing a five feet long stick-insect-like autonomous robot designed to step on landmines, get itself blown up, then intelligently adapt so that it can continue onwards with its remaining legs and step on more mines. During a demonstration, where the robot was continually blown up until it was down to one leg, Tilden was ordered to stop by an Army Colonel who was distressed at seeing the crippled robot hobbling toward the next landmine. With his judgement clouded no doubt by seeing humans engaged in the real thing, the Colonel declared the demonstration was inhumane.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.All articles by Mike Hanlon