Interesting Coincidence: Last night's thoughts = Today's news! (Robotics)

While this may not be the most Fortean thing that ever happened, it IS a pretty interesting coincidence. It is not the first time I have thought about this, nor the first time anyone else has thought of it or talked about it, either! BUT:

Last night, at bed time, I found myself thinking about (again) .... (seemingly totally randomly chosen thing to think about)...the idea of somebody creating a robot that would wander through people's yards, neighborhoods, parks or whereever, and sustain itself the way an insect or animal does: by consuming grass, fallen leaves, whatever it might find that would be compostable, and turning it into fuel to burn to keep itself going. If done right, it could theoretically go months or years this way (at least until somebody kicked it or ran over it while it crossed a street or driveway or something). It could send back video to "home base" and maybe also have the option to be remotely controlled at will instead of being totally autonomous.

So, I see THIS article on the web TODAY:

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PS - what about robots to chase cats away from bird feeders, etc.? Possums away from your potted plants? Etc. (Don't get me wrong; I love cats. But the last time I was able to, I had a yard divided into "Cat Area" and "Bird Area." I could readily teach area cats which was which. But when I wasn't there, it was open season on the birds.)

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I've too though it would be fun to build a robot and let it loose to roam on it's own and see if it could survive. Though I didn't think we have workable technology for turning plants into usable robot energy so I was just thinking in terms of solar cells. It would have to seek out good spots where it could sit and recharge for hours without being found by humans.

I've thought if you could make a robot smart enough, and agile enough to actually navigate the world and survive (without getting caught or harmed), you could also give it a GPS and a goal. Just pick a destination on the map and see if your robot could find it's way there.

Of course, you would want to give it a cell phone as well so it could call home and report it's location and send back pictures.

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Curt Welch

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