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Trapped by a giant ball
February 16, 2005 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Watch out for the giant robot ball. While Rover, the autonomous rolling sentry on the Prisoner was really just a weather balloon, University of Uppsala researchers have developed a real robotic ball that chases burglars. “Once alerted, it can summon help, sound an alarm or pursue the intruders, taking pictures ... While the current version can only raise the alarm, it could be adapted to corner an intruder if the customer wanted”.

NASA/JPL has also developed a similar Tumbleweed Polar Rover, which has been tested in Greenland and Antarctica.

How many does Homeland Security have on order?
posted by Geo (26 comments total)

 

posted by 2sheets at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2005


In regards to the robot ball - couldn't you just put your foot on top of it like a soccer ball? Or you know, put something in it's path? I'm having a hard time imagining how it could possibly be created to "corner a burglar."
posted by agregoli at 9:06 AM on February 16, 2005


How long before the coyotes figure out how to make an EMP device from leftover microwave oven parts?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Dig a hole, then lure it in. Cross a river. Fill paintgun balls with black paint, or epoxy or superglue and shoot it. Catch it in a net and sell it for scrap. Figure out what frequency it uses and jam it.
posted by trondant at 9:06 AM on February 16, 2005


Anyone else thinking "Telletubbies"?
posted by NinjaPirate at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2005


The prototype, just under 2ft in diameter, weighs about 10lb

I'm sorry, but I want my robotic balls to be at least 10ft in diameter before they may be refered to as giant robot balls. 2ft in diameter is just your run-of-the-mill robot ball.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:10 AM on February 16, 2005


What if the burglar runs up stairs?
posted by santiagogo at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2005


continuing the conflation of fark/mefi, let me be the 1st to say i, for one, welcome our new giant robotic ball overlords.

and

these balls are making me testy! /futurama
posted by lord_wolf at 9:16 AM on February 16, 2005


Will the despotic robot be controlled by the robotic despot?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:16 AM on February 16, 2005


>> What if the burglar runs up stairs?

Damn, that's what stopped the Daleks, too.
posted by login at 9:19 AM on February 16, 2005


You guys are missing the point. It can "summon help, sound an alarm or pursue the intruders, taking pictures." It's not meant to corner the intruders. And who cares if the burglar steps on the ball, puts something in its path, or runs up the stairs - as long as the ball snaps some photos and sounds an alarm, it's done its little job.
posted by trappedinabay at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2005


That's a ballsy move.

[/inevitable]
posted by jonmc at 9:29 AM on February 16, 2005


>>it's done its little job.

what more could you ask of your balls?

posted by login at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2005


Uh, it says right in the article that they want to develop it to corner intruders. So I don't think we're missing the point.
posted by agregoli at 9:33 AM on February 16, 2005


Better link for the Tumbleweed Polar Rover here.
posted by The Thnikkaman at 9:34 AM on February 16, 2005


How many does Homeland Security have on order?

none, silly. their purview is limited to pastel terror alerts, harassing domestic airline passengers, and making the white house briefing room safe for undercover prostitutes.
posted by quonsar at 9:36 AM on February 16, 2005


If it really were a giant robot ball, now that would be more fun.
posted by soyjoy at 9:36 AM on February 16, 2005


This is going to make an even better cat toy than laser pointers.
posted by fshgrl at 9:38 AM on February 16, 2005


Do not taunt Happy Fun Robot Ball.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:43 AM on February 16, 2005


I'm sorry, but I want my robotic balls to be at least 10ft in diameter before they may be refered to as giant robot balls. 2ft in diameter is just your run-of-the-mill robot ball.

I dunno... how big were Steve Austin's?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2005





Ranjan Mukherjee has already patented a military version. “When in motion, the robot is a featureless metal ball. When it comes to rest, it stabilizes itself on three legs and extends sensor and weapon arrays. ” <shudder>


For the curious, I found an animation and a movie of the Swedish Rotundus Robot mentioned in the original post.


posted by Geo at 10:30 AM on February 16, 2005


You could corner an intruder by having a whole squad of em equipped with tasers.
posted by zeoslap at 10:31 AM on February 16, 2005


Anyone else thinking "Telletubbies"?

I was thinking Katamari Damacy. Once it has rolled up all the bad guys into its sticky mass, it rolls one last time... to the county jail!

(Disclaimer: haven't played the game)
posted by kurumi at 10:54 AM on February 16, 2005


If they made it sticky, it'd be like a real-life Katamari!
posted by waxpancake at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2005


Damn, beat me to it.
posted by waxpancake at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2005


The Birth of Rover - AKA "Hystero"!
posted by Uccellina at 11:35 AM on February 16, 2005


How many does Homeland Security have on order?

Does every single FPP have to include a snark at the administration? Or just most? Can somebody update me, I think I missed that memo. Thanks!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:57 AM on February 16, 2005


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