Cornell Uni develops apocalypse cube

Laser pulse rifles at the ready

It will not have escaped the notice of members of the neoLuddite Resistance Army (NRA) that today is Friday 13 May, a date ripe with significance and ill omen. And with good cause, because the media is awash with the news that a Cornell University research team has developed a self-replicating cube which has the ability to assemble itself into civilisation-threatening configurations.

This chilling new development in the Rise of the Machines™ entirely removes the need for human genetic intervention in the process by which the Lizard Army can propagate civilisation-supressing technology. As we previously reported, our sources suggest that extraterrestrials bent on the subjugation of mankind had planned to create a hideous man/machine hybrid - either by worldwide deployment of the "Andy" sex android, or by subjecting human females to a bit of robo rumpy-pumpy at the hands of Kim Jong-Hwan's lust-crazed cyberRomeo.

But then again, why bother? Especially when you control 90 per cent of the world's scientists, plus 40 per cent of the French car industry via explosive cranial implant. Indeed, we think is only a matter of time before Renault turns over its entire manufacturing capacity to the Cornell "Molecube". Laser pulse rifles at the ready:

Molecubes are made up of a series of modular cubes, each containing identical machinery and the complete computer program for replication. The cubes have electromagnets on their faces that allow them to selectively attach to and detach from one another, and a complete robot consists of several cubes linked together. Each cube is divided in half along a long diagonal, which allows a robot composed of many cubes to bend, reconfigure and manipulate other cubes. For example, a tower of cubes can bend itself over at a right angle to pick up another cube.

Each module of the self-replicating robot is a cube about four inches on a side, able to swivel along a diagonal. Below, a cutaway drawing shows the motor mechanism. To begin replication, the stack of cubes bends over and sets its top cube on the table. Then it bends to one side or another to pick up a new cube and deposit it on top of the first. By repeating the process, one robot made up of a stack of cubes can create another just like itself. Since one robot cannot reach across another robot of the same height, the robot being built assists in completing its own construction.

Those self-replicating cubes in full

The montage above shows the full horror of the apocalypse cube, including a self-replication sequence and cut-away of its infernal mechanism. At bottom right, we have three of the team responsible (from left): Bryant Adams, Hod Lipson and Victor Zykov. They all look pretty pleased with themselves right now, but they won't be smiling when they're chased from the smouldering ruins of the Cornell campus by a fifty-foot-high assemblage of Molecubes which have assumed the likeness of a murderous, breakdancing Citroën C4.

Interestingly, the Molecube menace reminds us of an incident many years ago as reported by UK tabloid the Sunday Sport, back in the days when it entertained the masses with stories of B52s discovered on the moon and space aliens turning kids into olives (the mother put the olive in a Martini, thereby inadvertently consuming her own offspring), and so forth.

An old photographer friend was dispatched to the Home Counties to investigate the strange case of the self-assembling Lego monster. A young mum swore blind that her daughter's Lego had, during the night, built itself into a fully-mobile attack droid which savaged the screaming woman when she came down for her cornflakes. Naturally, we dismissed her story as pure hysteria and - since she could provide no evidence of the creature, having destroyed it with a broom - marked it down to excess consumption of alcohol. Perhaps we were a little hasty...

Back in Cornell, meanwhile, Hod Lipson, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and computing and information science, claims that the Molecube is just a proof of concept and performs "no useful function except to self-replicate".

He would say that, wouldn't he? The Montana bunker is beckoning, make no mistake. ®

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