#3. Festo SmartBird
This is not a new gimmick airplane by an increasingly desperate aerospace company. This is Festo SmartBird, a robotic seagull.
Yes, our future skies will be terrorized by a goddamn seagull. They didn't bother making our eventual Sky Overlord a falcon or even a raven, oh no. Science doesn't deem humanity worthy of a proper aerial adversary. For us, it's all seagulls, all the time.
Once you get past its appearance, the SmartBird is actually a fairly cool piece of work. With a 6-foot 5-inch wingspan and extremely natural, birdlike movements that almost (but not quite -- never quite) lift it out of Uncanny Valley, it is just realistic enough that it can convince you it's probably an ordinary bird from afar. Up close, it's just intimidating enough so that when it starts pooping napalm on you, you probably won't feel too disappointed by the fact that you were killed by a stupid seagull.
You'd be surprised how menacing a large seagull machine can look when it's coming for you at shoulder height.
#2. The Bionic Penguin
On paper, a robotic penguin seems like a waddling embarrassment, or perhaps a second string character on a Disney World ride. In practice, it's considerably less cuddly.
Somewhere, Danny DeVito is standing in front of a control panel and cackling maniacally.
Jesus, look at that thing! It doesn't even attempt to look like an authentic animal, instead going for a slick, simplistic video game villain look. That's not a cute, cuddly penguin-bot, that's a glow-eyed murder torpedo that was born to crush the seas under its (presumably sharpened) iron wings. Things like the Bionic Penguin are not built; they come into being via chest-bursting. From a shark.
The Bionic Penguin (yes, that's what it's really called) is not just a slick swimmer with the eyes of an aquatic Terminator. It also has a highly developed sonar system that it uses to navigate, locate objects underwater, and, of course, communicate with other bionic penguins. These things can co-operate.
Staying away from the water is not going to keep you any safer. There's also a variation of the machine that can actually fly, because once you start committing crimes against nature, you might as well go the whole nine yards.
They may be little more than glorified helium balloons, but that's small consolation when they start dive-bombing you.
You'll notice how the designers went out of their way to give the flying Bionic Penguin a T-1000 vibe, because what the world really needs is flying robot ghost penguins that look like a Terminator. The Bionic Penguin is another fine product of Festo, by the way. However, they can't be held responsible for ...
#1. Hyper-Realistic Robot Spiders
Shit. Shitshitshitshitshit. Is ... is this a physically accurate robot spider? Shiiiiiii-
Of course someone is building goddamn robot spiders, and with hyper-realistic movements to boot. What's more, these things are apparently relatively easy to make, as a lot of their parts are 3D printable. This means that once the first one gains sentience, it can easily acquire a 3D printing kit or 16 (horror spiders seldom have trouble shopping) and bury the world in a tsunami of its kith and kin. Hey, want to see how these things move? Neither do I, but here we go:
Maybe there's no reason to panic. This is clearly just the work of a single madman possessed by the unloving spirit of Arachnia, the eternal spider god. Yeah. It's just one deranged person who thinks it's a good idea to crank out 3D printable arachnid robots -- we can totally deal with him and his army of elaborate, elaborate monsters ...
Oh, cool. Here we see a hexapod variation on the spider robot theme, designed by a completely different guy and equipped with a different set of properties, such as awareness of its surroundings. So there are two guys building these fucking things, then. But that has to be it. Surely building robotic spider monsters can't be a trend or anything ...
God dammit. Pack your bags, people -- it's time to look into colonizing other planets. The fact that we're now mass-designing artificial arachnid monsters is a surefire sign that this one is about five minutes away from its game over screen.
Pauli Poisuo was replaced with a robot in 1958. Follow him on Twitter.