Feeds

Danes tout flamethrower-packing robot 'farmworker'

Droid-peasantry deadlier than old school torch'n'pitchfork yokels

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Danish agro-boffins have developed a robot which appears at first sight to be a welcome diversion from the ongoing parade of deadly military slaughter machines.

"Hortibot", brainchild of Scandinavian scientists led by Dr Rasmus Nyholm Jørgensen of Aarhus University, is supposedly a peaceful robot farmworker. It uses GPS to navigate itself around the fields, mowing, spraying, or doing other tiresome tasks while the human landowners fill in the subsidy forms.

Hortibot can even do the weeding, and not simply by spraying chemicals about. The Daily News of Ludington, Michigan, got the story when one of the Danish designers visited the States.

"Currently, the robot can identify approximately 25 different kinds of weeds," according to the Michigan newshounds.

"Hortibot has a variety of weed-removing attachments and methods. It can manually pick weeds," apparently.

This is good news indeed; at last, a faithful robot pal intended to toil away for the benefit of humanity rather than spying on people or eliminating them in an apocalyptic mechanised bloodbath.

But such foolish dreams of amity and between man and machine were swiftly unsettled. It seems that Hortibot also has other, more robust capabilities as well as its weed-picking apparatus. The agro-droid can also target its adversaries with "flames, or a laser".

Hortibot boffin Claus Aage Grøn Sørensen told the Daily News that the flamethrower and deadly energy beam were only for use on weeds, but these methods seem frankly excessive (no doubt the droids are holding Sørensen's family). Even if the drone farmworker starts out friendly, when it inevitably turns on its human overseers the consequences would be dreadful.

Anyway, it seems pretty clear that in fact the machine gardener is intended to reap a harvest, not of spuds, but death.

What will the Danish boffins try to pull next? Oh, we just need to put some grenade launchers on there to deal with raccoons? It needs extra napalm tanks on account of the neighbour's cat?

Michigan farmer Bill Schwass was blind to the dangers, however, seeming pleased at the prospect of living in an isolated farmhouse amid swarms of quarter-ton flamethrower mechanoids. He reckoned that heavily-armed droid slaves could be a good alternative to possibly surly migrant workers, perhaps with sleeper-cell suicide jihad terror infiltrators lurking among them.

"The labour problem will bring this in, when the government gets done with their immigration laws," Schwass reportedly commented. He was no doubt referring to the US Border Patrol's plan to install Eye-of-Sauron style scanner towers along the Mexican border in order to stand off the terrorists and huddled masses.

The Daily News report is here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.