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December 2, 2009 7:57 PM   Subscribe


 
I can't take it seriously unless it sounds like it's made of bees.
posted by Nomiconic at 8:00 PM on December 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, but can they teach it to keep a dungeon clean?
posted by felix betachat at 8:04 PM on December 2, 2009 [11 favorites]


So, so, freaky.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:12 PM on December 2, 2009


Fucking awesome.

Mmmmmm.... jammable slurry sounds delicious.

Did anybody else notice that it was an inflatable 20-sider? This is like some Lovecraft-obsessed role-playing robot nerd's dream/nightmare come to life.
posted by idiopath at 8:21 PM on December 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


AKIRAAAAAAAA
posted by stavrogin at 8:22 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
posted by The Deej at 8:23 PM on December 2, 2009 [14 favorites]


...and I will keep him and call him Squishy. And he will be my Squishy. Come here little Squishy...
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:24 PM on December 2, 2009


Soon it will be hunting down Patrick McGoohan.
posted by drdanger at 8:26 PM on December 2, 2009 [15 favorites]


Whooa! I was not expecting it to throb and pulse like that. The techno beat was also startling.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:26 PM on December 2, 2009


The techno beat was also startling.

This was the original soundtrack.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:29 PM on December 2, 2009


We need guns.

Lots of guns.
posted by mark242 at 8:30 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


unleash a few thousand of those on mars to scare any life forms out of their hiding places.
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:33 PM on December 2, 2009


The stop-motion animation was also pretty cute.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:37 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gosh, the next 20 years are going to be fun, methinks. I just know a robot explosion is coming!
posted by niccolo at 8:41 PM on December 2, 2009


Oh man, now all they have to do is light up SkyNet and we're toast.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:48 PM on December 2, 2009


Here I was expecting Rush Limbaugh had gone cyborg. Well, this is neat too.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:57 PM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


These things will be mirroring your facial expressions in a few years.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:01 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here I was expecting Rush Limbaugh had gone cyborg.

Rush Limbaugh went cyborg a long time ago.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:04 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I loved the stop-motion animation for explaining the concept -- and right up until the prototype inflated and started moving, I was thinking "cool!"

Then it moved, and I got an instant visceral reaction of "KILL IT WITH FIRE".

But now I just think it's cool again.
posted by nonspecialist at 9:06 PM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


WHEREAS I am a complete human of being of sound body and mind, and WHEREAS one of these things or their grandkids will eventually kill me for "the horrible persecution visited upon our Furby ancestors", and WHEREAS I really like saying WHEREAS, the METAFILTER MEMBER who manages to launch the freaky blob-bot and the rival hivemind controlling it into the sun shall be entitled to collect ALL (100%) of MY STUFF upon my death.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:18 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rush Limbaugh went cyborg a long time ago.

"He's more machine now, than man; twisted and evil." [/benkenobi]
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:36 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sponsored by DARPA. I suspect this will end up being used for OtherCulture Jamming as much as anything.
posted by Rumple at 9:51 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Awww, they blow up so fast...
posted by Awakened at 9:56 PM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Amorphous blob robot takes first steps

I'm sorry, but that blob is totally morphous.
posted by shmegegge at 10:22 PM on December 2, 2009


That techno soundtrack was amazingly out of place.

I would have voted for the maddening, repetitive piping of daemon flutes.
posted by JHarris at 10:40 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Morphous like a FOX!
posted by davejay at 10:43 PM on December 2, 2009


According to Google at least, morphous == amorphous*. therefore a = 1? or ∞? or 0? Discuss.
posted by mhjb at 10:43 PM on December 2, 2009


For a better soundtrack, load this up (but don't start the video on the left until the video on the right is at 1:54.)
posted by davejay at 10:47 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


By the way, props on the FPP title.
posted by davejay at 10:51 PM on December 2, 2009


drdanger mentioned it first, but we need a video.
posted by eye of newt at 10:56 PM on December 2, 2009


I've often thought we always needed spontaneous robotic nut sacks.
posted by quadog at 11:19 PM on December 2, 2009


"No, no psionicists; If you ask to play one again I'm going to rip out your nuts and replace them with D20s"

"Huh, that gives me an idea."
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:39 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


@davejay Is there a video in existence that yackity sax won't make super hilarious?
posted by sredefer at 11:57 PM on December 2, 2009


Benny Hill, ironically.
posted by fleacircus at 12:06 AM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Heck yes, this is ridiculously cool
posted by jock@law at 12:30 AM on December 3, 2009


[ Aww. ]

[ Isn't it cute? ]

[ Of course, it's only a matter of time before it comes for you and your family. ]

[ Probably best to kill it now. ]

[ I saw a spiky death pit over there. ]

[ -With concern, the Sign Painter ]
posted by JHarris at 1:25 AM on December 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


I can has iShoggoth?
posted by Eideteker at 4:36 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This will not end well.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:48 AM on December 3, 2009


I am always saddened when I see tremendously cool robots with thick ropes of computer cords tethering them to their "brains". How cool would it be to see that little guy rolling over the tundras, bouncing gleeful and free, out in the wild as I'm sure its creators intended?

In any case, I can't fear anything that could be lobotomised with the judicious use of garden shears.
posted by Jilder at 6:14 AM on December 3, 2009


Thank god we haven't figured out how to power things like this efficiently.
posted by odinsdream at 6:28 AM on December 3, 2009


i watched this on mute in the library; do the cords connecting to it supply the air/fluid/whatever?

if so, what are the prospects for storing the air within the blob itself? wouldn't that decrease its overall, uh, squishability, since you'd have some kind of sac inside which might prevent extreme distortions?

if you can't make it roam free, then all you've got is an interesting appendage. :/
posted by edguardo at 7:57 AM on December 3, 2009


I am always saddened when I see tremendously cool robots with thick ropes of computer cords tethering them to their "brains". How cool would it be to see that little guy rolling over the tundras, bouncing gleeful and free, out in the wild as I'm sure its creators intended?

In any case, I can't fear anything that could be lobotomised with the judicious use of garden shears.


My SO and I were talking about this, and assuming all those are doing is supplying air and or an electrical charge, it wouldn't seem to difficult to embed a small pump and transmitter inside to free it.

Very cool stuff though.
posted by Big_B at 8:12 AM on December 3, 2009


A friend of mine from grad school is either working on this exact project, or one very similar. They built a robot that works via jamming of granular materials with DARPA money. My friend said it moved very slowly (sure enough, in the lower right hand corner of the video, you can see "x8" written). So instead of maddening drums and piping flutes, think maybe... tuba or something ---the chief tactical strength of this robot would be its ability to imitate a stationary object.

I'll let you guys in on a secret. My friend and his advisor want to study the physics of granular materials. They need money. Physicists can't get money now (well, it's much more difficult than in the past). So they built a robot. It's not so sad, because it's a really cool robot, but it's a little sad because granular materials are cool, very complicated, and absolutely ubiquitous. Our lack of understanding of jamming causes loss of money and deaths. Plus it should be feasible for a scientist to study granular materials because they're cool. Well, that's my opinion, although I can understand non-scientists feeling differently.
posted by Humanzee at 8:44 AM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Our lack of understanding of jamming causes loss of money and deaths.

Not that I disagree with your premise, but what benefits would a deeper understand of "jamming" reveal?

Very cool project, thanks for posting it.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2009


My SO and I were talking about this, and assuming all those are doing is supplying air and or an electrical charge, it wouldn't seem to difficult to embed a small pump and transmitter inside to free it.

It's probably attached to the computer controlling its movements.
posted by Jilder at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2009


Ah, Science, are there any hairs on the back of my neck you cannot make stand at attention?
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this page offers a good short summary of some of the problems associated with jamming. In short, granular materials can have a rapid, unexpected transition between jammed and unjammed states. This can cause flow blockages and structural failures when flowing granular materials jam. It can cause avalanches, sinkholes, or liquefaction when granular materials unjam. It would be hugely beneficial to be able to predict and/or control these transitions (and we can, to some extent now).
posted by Humanzee at 11:33 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Of course -- thanks Humanzee. That makes sense now that you've said it, but I couldn't put my finger on what the benefits could be. We've had some significant landslides in Washington in the last couple of years that were probably a result of liquefaction.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2009


@davejay Is there a video in existence that yackity sax won't make super hilarious?

@seredefer no, no there is not.
posted by davejay at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2009


Granular materials also transmit a lot of their stress through force chains or contact networks (some good descriptions here)— the resulting behavior in bulk can be pretty counterintuitive; eg, you can't safely treat the contents of a grain silo as a liquid.
posted by hattifattener at 11:51 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


how do we make it kill?
posted by Capt Jingo at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2009


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