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Mercredi, 16 Novembre 2011 23:00

Spider-Bot Battles Giant Robo-Snake as Pentagon Drools

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You know that thin line between super strange art projects for Burning Man and sophisticated scientific research for the Pentagon? Getting. Even. Thinner.

In 2007, Danger Room introduced you to the Mondo Spider, a 1,700-pound robotic arachnid that would fit right into the Defense Department’s menagerie of animal-inspired automatons. Except the monstrosity of metalwork was designed by a team of artists hoping only to “rock Burning Man and the world of kinetic sculpture.”

Now, members of that same group, who are based out of Vancouver’s eatART Lab, have unveiled Titanoboa, a 50-foot, slithering robo-snake meant to, uh, “provoke discussions of our changing climate in a historical context.” And, of course, rock Burning Man, where Titanoboa made his debut this past summer.

So what happens when Mondo and Titanoboa meet? A lot of slithering creepiness, as the artists learned when they unleashed the two inside a warehouse adjacent to their studio. “I don’t think either one would hurt the other,” project leader Charlie Brinson tells Danger Room. “But we do try to make them look as menacing as possible.”

Next up for the same posse of eco-conscious robot artisans? Glad you asked, because they’re looking forward to introducing you to Prosthesis — a gigantic, walking exo-skeleton that uses a strapped-in human operator to move. Sounds vaguely familiar.

Not that the team is ready to pass any secrets the Pentagon’s way. They’ve been contacted by defense contractors, but “that’s not really our bag,” Brinson says. “We’re into making art, not killing machines.”

Spider-Bot Battles Giant Robo-Snake as Pentagon DroolsKatie Drummond is a New York-based reporter at Danger Room, covering the wild world of military research, and a contributing editor at The Daily.
Follow @katiedrumm on Twitter.


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