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Terrifying farm mechanoid plan for Japan

No other way to cope with monster vegetable menace

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

In a further outre twist, the budding Japanese robot'n' exoskeleton industry plans to move into a new sector. Researchers in the land of the Rising Sun have exhibited a mighty powered suit which could see increasingly elderly farmers - lifespans prolonged indefinitely perhaps, by advancing medical technology - striding across the fields reaping crops and lifting heavy loads.

The machine is described by the Mainichi Daily News as a "strap-on robot suit", but so far it seems to be a fairly unthreatening exoskeleton. Apparently, it was designed specifically for farming by top agro-boffins of the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. Features include a "resin frame" and eight separate motors.

All-too-clear hints were given about the plans for undying, wizened human farmers condemned to eternal toil imprisoned inside the powerful mechanoids.

"As the age of farmers increases, I wanted to develop technology that would lighten their burden," said professor Shigeki Toyama.

For the moment the powered suit is relatively puny, but as time goes by it would clearly make sense to scale it up in order to compete with regular farm machinery such as combine harvesters. From there it's only a short step to drunken farmers staging destructive battles clad in their gigantic suits powered by roaring engines* and equipped with deadly reaping and threshing attachments.

Immense mech-warrior suits will clearly also be necessary to harvest the increasingly massive genetically-engineered vegetables of the future, too. In fact, it sounds as though these may already be in use, with the Mainichi Daily News reporting that "when pulling out a Japanese radish, for example, about 20 kilograms of instantaneous pressure is exerted on the knees and lower back".

That's a big old radish to pull out. Handling a Japanese turnip or a marrow must be backbreaking stuff. This seems to be well into strap-on machinery territory.

As usual, nobody is considering the day when the ancient nutrient-tank farmer homunculi inside the massive farm mechanoids eventually wig out, driven insane by centuries of wrestling with hundred-ton genetically enhanced fruit'n'veg, and march on the towns. It's going to take more than a few hastily reprogrammed robot butlers to deal with them.

The Mainichi Daily News report is here. ®

* Apparently "ultrasonic", it says here.

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